Charles DARRAGH

DARRAGH, Charles

Service Numbers: 1313, 3614, 3614A
Enlisted: 2 November 1914, Townsville, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 47th Infantry Battalion
Born: Ballycastle, Ireland, October 1880
Home Town: Townsville, Townsville, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Natural causes (alcoholism/heart failure), Brisbane, Queensland, 10 May 1920
Cemetery: Toowong (Brisbane General) Cemetery
15A. 26. 16. S1/449
Memorials: Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial (Ballarat), Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

2 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1313, Townsville, Queensland
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1313, 15th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1313, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Berrima, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1313, 15th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli
27 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 1313, 15th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli, GSW (back)
19 Jan 1916: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 1313, 15th Infantry Battalion, M/U
13 Feb 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3614, Bowen, Queensland
2 Aug 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3614, 47th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Aug 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3614, 47th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Miltiades, Sydney
5 Apr 1918: Imprisoned Villers-Bretonneux
10 May 1920: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3614A, 47th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

"Missing in action, 5 April 1918. Postcard received in London stated he was a Prisoner of War. Debriefing statement, 5 November 1918, Darragh stated: 'We were holding the railway cutting between Albert and Dernancourt. The enemy heavily attacked us on the morning of the 5th. April. Sgt. Burton was in charge of the Company Headquarters Lewis Gunners to whom I belonged. The enemy broke through and about 18 of us found ourselves surrounded and had to surrender. I was unwounded. The enemy had broken through on our right working round a hill. We were holding a trench at the top of the cutting but the German artillery had blown it to bits ... [Immediately after the capture] I was taken to Etricourt where I was kept till May 12th. It was a large camp of unwounded prisoners of war, but not all were Australians. From here I was sent to the clearing station at Quesnoy and then sent on working commando to Marchelepot near Peronne. We were doing railway construction work behind the German lines, but I could not say that we were ever under our own artillery fire. When the great Allied 'Push' began on August 8th., the Germans decided to shift the prison camp back to Roisel on the other side of Peronne. As we were travelling along the road, mixed with the German transport allied airmen bombed the retreating columns. My right leg was so smashed that it had to be amputated above the knee. I was also wounded in the left leg and in the head. My right leg was amputated that day in a field hospital at Marchelepot. I was taken straight to hospital at Valenciennes and after 20 days there was transferred to Quedlingburg in Germany. I remained at Quedlinburg till I was exchanged ... ' Reported repatriated from Germany through Holland; arrived in England, 23 October 1918.

Died in Brisbane General Hospital, 10 May 1920, of 'acute alcoholism, delirium tremens, heart failure'. Mother enquired: ' ... did he know he was going to die or was he conscious at his last. You can know from the Doctor or the Clergy who attended him.' Secretary, Brisbane Hospital, replied to 1 Military District: 'The patient was admitted at 2 p.m. on May 10th and died the same day. He became unconscious shortly after admission ... It is not likely that he was aware of his approaching death and we are not able to say whether or no he saw a priest while in the Hospital ... In dealing with correspondence of this kind and in such a case I ignore the question and simply relate that the Chaplain appointed by the Church is unremitting in his attention, visiting the hospital every day and often more than once -- which is no less than the truth and I hope has solaced many mothers." - SOURCE (www.aif.adfa.edu.au)

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