The AIF Project

Charles Ernest UPCHURCH

Regimental number3182
Place of birthWynyard, Tasmania
SchoolState School, Tasmania
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarm labourer
AddressSomerset, Tasmania
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 5"
Weight124 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs E M Upchurch, Somerset, Tasmania
Previous military serviceServed for 18 months in the Senior Cadets, Wynyard and Beaconsfield; 'evaded service'.
Enlistment date28 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name12th Battalion, 10th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/29/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 16 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll52nd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 16 July 1917
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death20
Age at death from cemetery records20
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
156
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Ernest and Emily Margaret UPCHURCH, Somerset, Tasmania. Native of Wynyard
Medals

Military Medal

'For gallantry and devotion to duty. On the 11th April 1917 near REINCOURT after the withdrawal from the HINDENBURG LINE these men [2645 T.W. FOLKARD, 5077 H.B. DICK; 2158 T. DOBE, 2450 J. HOARE, 235 N.G. HATTON, 1875A A.C. ONIONS, 3970 R.C. HOLDEN, 3182 C.E. UPCHURCH, 1747 T. SEE] under the command of Lieutenant JULIN of 52 Battalion volunteered in spite of continuous machine gun and artillery fire, to go out into NO MAN'S LAND and collect wounded. At first they go a hostile reception but ultimately by their persistency and determination, they were permitted to carry on unmolested till dark. In this manner they saved the lives of many who would otherwise have perished in the snow. Two of the number were killed but undetermined the remainder stuck to their task until darkness put a stop to their work. They showed magnificent coolness and gallantry and untiring energy in their difficult task.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 169
Date: 4 October 1917

Family/military connectionsBrother: 2923 Pte Andrew UPCHURCH, 12th Bn, killed in action, 6-10 April 1917.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 52nd Bn, Tel el Kebir, 3 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 5 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 12 June 1916. Appointed Lance Corporal, 10 April 1917. Awarded the Military Medal. Promoted Corporal, 19 June 1917.

Killed in action, 16 July 1917.

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Mother wrote to Base Records, July 1920: 'Just a line letting you know that I am the only Blood relation who has anything to do with my Son the Late Charles E. Upchurch ... It is just 17 years this month since he lost his father and we have fought our own battles ever since. His will left all he had to me his Mother who worked hard to rear both the late Charles E. Upchurch also his Brother Andrew Upchurch Private who also gave His all the the Great War cause.'

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