The AIF Project

Charles Crichton EDWARDS

Regimental number1700
Place of birthRockhampton, Queensland
Other NamesEDWARDS, Chas. Crichton
SchoolNorth Rockhampton, Queensland
OccupationMotor mechanic
Address'La Chacra', Grenville Street, Chatswood, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Height5' 7.5"
Weight164 lbs
Next of kinFriend, Mrs V W Burbank, 'La Chacra', Grenville Street, Chatswood, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the Cadets.
Enlistment date17 May 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name20th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/37/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A61 Kanowna on 19 June 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll20th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

1Military Medal

Recommendation date: 18 June 1916

Bar to Military Medal

Recommendation date: 25 September 1917

Serbian Gold Medal

Recommendation date: September-October 1916

FateKilled in Action 9 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death27
Age at death from cemetery records27
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: James and Mary Blackie EDWARDS, Peter Street, Kalka, Rockhampton, Queensland

Military Medal

'In command of a sentry Group at Russell Top during evacuation of Anzac and was one of the last party of 30 men to leave the front line trenches. Within a few minutes of withdrawal of this party, he detected a Turk crawling over towards our trenches and others looking over their parapets. he shot the Turkish Scout and the others returned to cover. His vigilance and prompt action at a most critical time in the operations, doubtless prevented the Turks from ascertaining that the evacuation was in progress.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917

Gold Medal (Serbia)

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 169
Date: 4 October 1917

Bar to Military Medal

'At HANEBEKE WOOD on 20th September 1917 this N.C.O. after the Battalion objective had been taken and the work of consolidation had been carried out, noticed that a Vickers gun team on his Company frontage had been knocked out by enemy shell fire. With a disregard for personal safety he went to where the gun was, and mounting it in a new position, he single handed, brought it into action, firing a considerable amount of ammunition and through his courage and initiative proved to be a big factor in the success. His grit and determination throughout the action was a great example to all.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 66
Date: 2 May 1918

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 3 August 1915; taken on strength, 20th Bn, 31 August 1915. Admitted to 5th Australian Field Ambulance, 27 November 1915 (mumps); rejoined unit, 9 December 1915. Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 9 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Promoted Corporal, 1 February 1916. Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 18 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 25 March 1916. Admitted to 12th Australian Field Ambulance, 5 July 1916 (gastritis); transferred to 4th Divisional Rest Station, 8 March 1916; rejoined Bn, 12 July 1916.

Wounded in action, 4 August 1916 (gun shot wound, back); admitted to 2nd Australian Field Ambulance, 5 August 1916; to 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, 5 August 1916; to 22nd General Hospital, Camiers, 5 August 1916. Transferred to England, 12 August 1916, and admitted to 1st Western General Hospital, Liverpool; discharged to report to AIF Administrative Headquarters, 23 September 1916. Granted furlough, 27 September 1916; reported back from furlough, 13 October 1916. Marched in to No. 4 Command Depot, Wareham, 22 October 1916. Qualified 2nd Class at the School of Musketry, Tidworth, 1-24 May 1917, as having 'fair knowledge' of the Lewis Gun. Proceeded overseas to France, 16 July 1917; rejoined 20th Bn, 8 August 1917.

Appointed Lance Sergeant, 26 August 1917; promoted Sergeant, 5 September 1917; 2nd Lt, 29 September 1917.

Wounded in action, Belgium, 9 October 1917; Court of Enquiry, 13 October 1917, determined fate as 'Missing in Action'; subsequently reported as 'Killed in Action'.

Statement made 6 March 1918 by 1709 Signaller W.D. GATES, 20th Bn: 'On the 9th and 10th days of October 1917, I was at Headquarters 20th Battalion in the line in France. I knew 2/Lieut Edwards. On the early morning of the 9th October 1917 the 20th Battalion who were in the line attacked. I believe 2/Lieut C.C. Edwards was with the attackers. Some days later an Australian soldier of, I believe the 17th Battalion, whom I was talking to but whose name I do not know, told me that he had seen an officer of 20th Battalion lying dead on No Man's Land wearing a V.C. ribbon and military medal [sic] ribbon. He said the dead officer was a fair haired man and his description of the deceased was very like that of 2/Lieutenant C.C. Edwards. I also took it that he may have been confused. I had heard previously that 2/Lieutenant C.C. Edwards was missing after the attack on 9th or 10th October 1917 and I concluded in my own mind that the body seen by the above mentioned soldier was that of 2/Lieutenant C.C. Edwards.' Statement made 9 March 1918 by 378 Sergeant T.W. GOODA, 20th Bn: 'I last saw ... [EDWARDS] about 8 a.m. on the morning of the 9th October 1917, he was badly wounded in the chest and died shortly afterwards. This was in "Daisy Wood" near Passchendaele.'

Medals: Military Medal & Bar, Gold Medal (Serbia), 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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