Charles Edward DOODSON

Poppy

DOODSON, Charles Edward

Service Number: 18857
Enlisted: 6 January 1916, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Gunner
Last Unit: 3rd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries
Born: Ultimo, New South Wales, 8 August 1882
Home Town: North Sydney, North Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Ultimo Public School
Occupation: Seaman
Died: Died of wounds, Boulogne, France, 22 May 1917, aged 34 years
Cemetery: Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
Buried by Rev. T. S. Goydge
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

6 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 18857, Liverpool, New South Wales
11 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 18857, 7th Field Artillery Brigade, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 18857, 7th Field Artillery Brigade, HMAT Argyllshire, Sydney
15 Sep 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Gunner, 3rd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries
15 May 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 18857, 3rd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries, Bullecourt (Second)
22 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 18857, 3rd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries

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Biography contributed by Karen Standen

Charles Edward Doodson was the eldest son of Edward Alexis and Sarah Doodson. Sarah died before Charles' third birthday and it was step mum, Matilda Doodson, who raised Charles along with her own eight children. 

The sea was Charles' life, the tattoos of a sailor with flag on one arm and an eagle and butterfly on the other, testament to the twelve years he served in the Royal Navy Reserve and which saw him accompany the first naval and military forces sent to Rabaul, New Guinea, at the outbreak of the war. In his civilian life, Charles was employed by the Port Jackson and Manly S.S. Company, and held a master mariner's certificate. In 1910, Charles married Marian Kathleen Kirk.

On the completion of his naval service, Charles enlisted in the AIF.  He was under no delusion of what lay ahead as two of his brothers, Lance-Corporal Walter Victor Doodson (/explore/people/248642) and Private Frederick Allen Doodson (/explore/people/134076), had been wounded in action at Gallipoli. Fred died and Walter was invalided home, arriving in Sydney shortly after Charles had sworn his oath in January 1916. It was also around this time when two more Doodson brothers, George Henry Doodson and Robert J. Doodson, applied to join the AIF but were deemed medically unfit. George was however accepted for "Home" service.

In November 1916, after the mandatory training in Australia and England, Charles finally landed in France. He was almost immediately struck down by a bout of malaria, possibly a legacy of his time in New Guinea. Charles rejoined his unit in the depths of winter and just days before Christmas. During the Allies spring offensive of 1917, Charles was wounded in action on the Western Front on the 15th May 1917. Receiving gunshot wounds to the face, shoulder and thigh, Charles' condition was dire. Fortunately, he was able to be evacuated from the front over the next two days, to the French port city of Boulogne and the 13th Stationary Hospital. Charles only lived for another five days, dying at 8:50 pm on Tuesday the 22nd May 1917. Reverend Goydge officiated at Charles' brief service when he was buried at the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

It was June before Mrs. Marian Doodson, 17 Milson-street, Milson's Point, received notification that her husband, Gunner Charles Edward Doodson, had died of wounds in France. His family mourned the loss of another son and brother. Their grief compounded further by the news Charles' cousin, Pte. Kenneth Norman Falconer (/explore/people/314807), aged 24 years, had been killed in action on May 19.

Charles and Marian had no children. On the first anniversary of Charles passing, Marian wrote, "Little we thought when we parted, Charl, It would be our last good-bye." Marian died suddenly the following year. C. Doodson is listed among those recorded on the North Sydney War Memorial.

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