Charles BURNS

BURNS, Charles

Service Numbers: 1547, WX8343
Enlisted: 9 August 1915, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3 Railway Construction Company
Born: Wyndham, Western Australia, 21 September 1896
Home Town: Guildford, Swan, Western Australia
Schooling: Guildford Grammar School
Occupation: Blacksmith’s striker/Stockman
Died: Natural causes, Warren District Hospital, Manjimup, Western Australia, 18 September 1990, aged 93 years
Cemetery: Manjimup Lawn Cemetery
Memorials: Bridgetown Memorial Park
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

9 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1547, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
22 Nov 1915: Embarked Private, 1547, 10th Light Horse Regiment, RMS Mongolia, Fremantle
22 Nov 1915: Involvement Private, 1547, 10th Light Horse Regiment, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '3' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: RMS Mongolia embarkation_ship_number: '' public_note: ''
3 Jan 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 12th Light Horse Regiment
22 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Driver, 4th Divisional Train
9 Jul 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Driver, 1st Signal Squadron
21 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Driver, 1547, 1st Signal Squadron

World War 2 Service

28 Aug 1940: Enlisted Private, WX8343, Claremont, Western Australia
28 Aug 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, WX8343
17 Jan 1945: Discharged Private, WX8343, 3 Railway Construction Company

Help us honour Charles Burns's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Charlie Burns: A soldier in two world wars by Dianne Rutherford

Over 20 Indigenous soldiers are known to have served in both the First and Second World Wars. Charles "Charlie" Burns is one of only a handful of those who saw active overseas service in both world wars. 

 Charlie Burns was born on 21 September 1896. While his parent’s names are unknown, he believed he was born on a cattle station near Wyndham in the north of Western Australia.  At the age of six, Charlie moved from Wyndham to live with his new guardians, Frederick and Grace Brockman, in Guildford, thousands of kilometres from where he was born and became the first indigenous student to attend Guilford Grammar School. Frederick was a surveyor (he became surveyor general in 1915) and had previously worked in the Wyndham area. Grace and an Indigenous stockman named Sam Yebbie Isaacs were well known for rescuing some of the survivors of SS Georgette, which was wrecked at Calgardup Bay in 1876.

In September 1917 while serving in Palestine, Charlie’s own bravery held echoes of Sam and Grace’s story when he rescued a New Zealand soldier, Trooper George Moffat of the Wellington Mounted Rifles, from drowning in the waters off the coast of Marakeb, south-west of Gaza, where George’s unit was in reserve undertaking regimental training. The coast here was particularly dangerous and there had been several cases of soldiers drowning.

One evening while bathing, the strong current carried George out to sea. Charlie answered his call for help and managed to swim a life-line to him. Despite the life-line breaking, Charlie was a strong swimmer, and managed to rescue George. Another man who swam out to help had to be aided back to shore as the currents were too strong for him. Charlie’s bravery was recorded in the routine orders of the Desert Mounted Corps. George Moffat survived the war..." - READ MORE LINK (


Open gallery


Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Raised by  surveyor and explorer Frederick Drake-Brockman and his wife Grace in Guildford.