Charles Spencer MALLEY

MALLEY, Charles Spencer

Service Number: 1552
Enlisted: 6 April 1915
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 25th Infantry Battalion
Born: Dublin, Ireland, date not yet discovered
Home Town: Wooroolin, South Burnett, Queensland
Schooling: Saint Columba's National School
Occupation: Storekeeper's assistant
Died: Killed in Action, Pozieres, France, 29 July 1916, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Courcelette British Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Wooroolin WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

6 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Corporal, 1552, 25th Infantry Battalion
6 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Corporal, 1552, 25th Infantry Battalion
29 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, 1552, 25th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Brisbane embarkation_ship: HMAT Aeneas embarkation_ship_number: A60 public_note: ''
29 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, 1552, 25th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Brisbane
29 Jul 1916: Involvement Corporal, 1552, 25th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 1552 awm_unit: 25 Battalion awm_rank: Corporal awm_died_date: 1916-07-29

Charles Spencer Malley - 1552 - 25th Battalion, 1st Reinforcement

Charles Spencer Malley was born in 1886 in Dublin, Ireland, the 6th of 8 children of Edward & Sarah Malley/Mulley. The 1901 Irish Census shows them living in house 10 in Leinster Avenue (North Dock, Dublin). Charles, 14 years old, was an office boy at a hardware store. His father was a collection of Newspapers!
In 1909, aged 23, Charles immigrated to Australia arriving in Sydney on board the ship Medic. In the same year his brother Augustus, a Church of England Reverend, also travelled to Australia. By 1913 Charles was on the Queensland electoral roll living at Wooroolin, occupation labourer.
A newspaper article in The Brisbane Courier Monday 26 October 1914 about the Wooroolin Concert in aid of the Patriotic Fund mentions C Malley as contributing to the program as well as an accompanist along with Queenie Bond. C Malley was also the Hon Secretary of the Patriotic Committee.
On 6 Apr 1915, Charles, enlisted in the Australian Army at Wondai. He gave his occupation as storekeeper, address as c/- DR Dalton Wooroolin and next of Kin as father, Edward Malley, Nottingham St, Dublin.
His army records show that 29 year old Charles was 5ft 7 inches tall with dark complexion, dark grey eyes and dark hair tinged with grey. His distinguishing features were 4 distinct vaccination marks on left shoulder, a small mole on left jaw, an elevated mole on back of left shoulder and a mark the size of a shilling piece on left buttock.
Charles was assigned to the 25th Battalion, 1st Reinforcement and his unit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 29 June 1915. “He arrived in Egypt with the 25th Battalion in time to serve in the battlefields of Gallipoli in the final stages of that horrendous campaign. From there Charles was posted to the Western Front in France, promoted to corporal and was killed in action three months later on 29.7.1916 in the brutal battle of Pozieres. Official confirmation of his death was slow in coming and his friends in Wooroolin, Mr E.G. Weller and Mr G.A Campbell, wrote letters of enquiry to military headquarters stating ‘the townspeople here are very anxious’. Charles, the Irishman, was sadly missed. Words courtesy Elizabeth Caffery from her speech on Anzac Day 2021.”
The letter from EG Weller mentions business interests at Wooroolin for Charles Malley and it seems the funds were eventually sent the hospital where his father was cared for in 1920.
Charles Malley is remembered at Courcelette British Cemetery, Picardie, France, Wooroolin WW1 Honour Board, Kingaroy Honour Board and his name is located at panel 105 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial.
Lest we Forget

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Biography contributed by Ian Lang

 
 
#1552 MALLEY Charles Spencer        25th Battalion
 
Charles Malley was a native of Dublin, Ireland, born to parents Edward and Sarah Malley. He attended school at Saint Columba’s National School in Dublin and at the age of 22, emigrated to Australia.
 
When Charles presented himself for enlistment at Wondai on 6th April 1915, he was working as a storekeeper’s assistant to Mr D. Dalton of Wooroolin. He stated at that time that he was 29 years old and also disclosed that he had been refused enlistment previously due to bad teeth. Charles named his father in Dublin as his next of kin.
 
Charles travelled to Fraser’s Paddock, Enoggera where he was placed in the 1st reinforcements of the 25thBattalion, which would form part of the 7th Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Division AIF. The battalion was raised from recruits primarily from regional Queensland. The training provided at Enoggera was at first very basic as there were insufficient supplies of military equipment and the battalion spent a lot of time constructing the camp itself. Men were issued with a pair of boots, a pair of dungarees (overalls) and a white floppy hat. Eventually a more military order was established with uniforms issued, close order drill, musketry and route marches. It was determined that the 1st reinforcements would embark for overseas along with the bulk of the 25th. On 29th May, the 25th Battalion and its sister battalion the 26th as well as a squadron of Light Horse took part in a march from Enoggera to the city, down Queen Street to Brunswick Street. Home leave was granted and many of the men had studio photographs taken in their new uniforms.
 
On 29th June 1915 the battalion was loaded onto trains at Enoggera Station headed for Pinkenba Wharf where they boarded the “Aeneas”. After a brief stop in Sydney, the transport headed across the Great Australian Bight and into the Indian Ocean bound for Egypt, arriving in Suez on 4th August. Whilst in camp at Abbassia, the men were issued with battalion colour patches; a black over blue diamond, to replace the copper “25” on the shoulders.
 
The Gallipoli campaign which had begun with such high expectation in late April had developed into a stalemate after the failed Anzac Attacks in August. The men of the 1st Division and the Light Horsemen who had been holding the Anzac position for almost five months were in need of a period of rest.
 
On 11th September 1915, the 25th disembarked at Gallipoli. That same day, Charles was promoted to Lance Corporal. The 25th’s landing was carried out at night and the battalion suffered only one casualty. By this time the Gallipoli campaign had ground to a halt with neither side willing to incur the shocking casualties that had occurred in May and August. The 25th spent much of its time on Gallipoli manning positions at Steele’s and Courtney’s Posts. November 1916 saw the arrival of severe storms to the peninsula as well as snow. After an inspection by Lord Kitchener; the British command decided to abandon Gallipoli. Those members of the 25th still manning the trenches on Gallipoli were withdrawn with the rest of the ANZAC force in December.
 
In January 1916, Mr Campbell, the manager of the Queensland National Bank at Wooroolin wrote to base records in Melbourne regarding Charles Malley. He stated that a soldier from Wooroolin stationed in Egypt had seen the name Malley on a list of those killed in action. Mr Campbell said that he was enquiring as Charles’ name was not listed in the official casualty lists published in local newspapers. Mr Campbell stated that this information had caused concern amongst the Wooroolin community, no doubt because he was well known to most of them through his employment. Base records replied that there was no official confirmation of Charles’ death. Mr Campbell wrote once more apologising for raising the issue with the authorities and advised that the correspondent in Egypt had confused the surname Malley with O’Malley. This incident highlights the way in which unconfirmed reports from the front, no matter how well intentioned, had the potential to cause unnecessary angst to those at home desperate for news.
 
By January 1916, the 25th were back in Egypt taking on reinforcements. On 13th March, the battalion was visited by General Birdwood, Commander of all Australian Forces, who informed the men that they would be going to France and he urged them to “play the game.” The 25th Battalion was the first Australian infantry unit into France, arriving in Marseilles on 19th March 1916. The Battalion was transported by train north to the Armentieres sector of the front. This part of the frontline was considered to be suitable for educating newly arrived troops into the routines of trench warfare, even though there were not actually any trenches as the ground was too boggy. Instead, earthen breastworks had been constructed with timber walls and duckboard floors; and even piped running water; a far cry from the conditions on Gallipoli. While occupying the line, Charles was promoted again; to Corporal. The battalion spent several months rotating in and out of the line before being called south to the Somme in July.
 
General Haig, Supreme British commander on the Western Front was planning a big push in the south of the British sector through the Somme River valley for the summer of 1916. It was to be the largest battle of the war so far, and was timed to commence on the 1st of July. The attack was a disaster, with the British suffering 60,000 casualties on the first day; 20,000 of whom were killed. In spite of this, Haig was determined to push on and the 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions were moved south from the Armentieres sector to Albert to take part in the Somme offensive. 
 
The village of Pozieres half way between Albert and Bapaume, sat on the highest point of that part of the battlefield. Pozieres was taken by the 1st Division on 25th July. The second division’s objective was to follow up from the 1st Division’s success and to take a blockhouse which had been built on the site of a windmill in the village of Pozieres. The windmill was behind two lines of trenches, and provided a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. The attack, the first major offensive by the 25th Battalion since arriving in France, was to begin just after midnight on the 29th July. The attack was a failure, with the 25th Battalion suffering 343 casualties (from a strength of a little less than 1000 men).
 
Corporal Charles Malley was listed as one of those Killed in Action. Charles’ sister, Hannah Malley, made enquiries through the Irish Red Cross about her brother’s death. She was informed that Sergeant Tom Jupp, the platoon leader of Charles’ section in “D” Company was running beside Charles in the charge when Charles was struck in the face by a bomb or shell fragment. Sergeant Jupp bandaged Charles and sent him back to the Australian lines. Jupp later learned that two other members of 14th Platoon came across Charles’ body as they withdrew from the battle. He had been shot in the head by a burst of machine gun fire and was “quite dead.” Charles was buried by a burial party in a shell hole when the objective was taken five days later.
 
Charles’ father had been admitted to the Stewart Institute in Dublin, a benevolent home, and was no longer capable of managing affairs. Charles’ sister Hannah took possession of her brother’s personal effects; books, cards, letters, photos, two handkerchiefs and a shamrock. Mr E.G. Weller, a baker of Wooroolin, wrote to base records when Charles’ name appeared in the casualty lists. He stated he had “some business in hand” with Charles and asked for the name of his next of kin. It is possible that Charles had enlisted owing some money to Mr Weller.
 
In spite of the precarious position of Charles’ grave at Pozieres, it survived further assaults during the German Spring offensive of 1918. The Graves Registration Unit of the AIF exhumed his remains in 1919 and reinterred them in the Courcelette British Cemetery, less
than one kilometre from where he fell. Hannah Malley accepted Charles’ medals, the 14/15 Star, The Victory Medal and the British Empire medal as well as a memorial plaque. She also chose the following inscription for Charles’ headstone:
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
 
On the site of the Pozieres windmill today is a commemorative stone which reads:
“The ruin of the Pozieres windmill which lies here was the centre of the struggle on this part of the Somme Battlefield in July and August 1916. It was captured by Australian troops who fell more thickly on this ridge than on any other battlefields of the war.”

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