Charles Clement GARRATT DCM and Bar

GARRATT, Charles Clement

Service Number: 1915
Enlisted: 11 January 1915
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: Islington, London, England, 21 July 1892
Home Town: Walkerville, South Australia
Schooling: Montem Street School, London, England
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Influenza, France, 9 November 1918, aged 26 years
Cemetery: Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

11 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1
20 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '12' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Hororata embarkation_ship_number: A20 public_note: ''
20 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), HMAT Hororata, Adelaide
9 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: awm_unit: 16 Battalion awm_rank: Second Lieutenant awm_died_date: 1918-11-09
Date unknown: Wounded 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)


The details provided are taken from the book "Stealth Raiders - a few daring men in 1918" written by Lucas Jordan, published 2017, refer to pages 200 + 266. Prior to the war he was a labourer of Walkerville SA. He enlisted 11th Jan 1915 aged 22 years. He served with the 16th Infantry Battalion, earning a Distinguished Conduct Medal and a Bar to it for the activities during his service.

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

Charles Clement Garratt died only two days before the Armistice in 1918. He was a soldier and labourer, born on 21 July 1892 at Islington, London, son of Charles Edward Garratt, book publisher's clerk, and his wife Maggie Constance, née Brown. Clem Garratt was tall, fair, strong-looking, brave, honest and forthright. He was also reserved and secretive, and left for posterity virtually no record of his pre-war days. In 1915 he was educated, single, a labourer with the Co-operative Mineral Waters & Brewing Co., boarding in Church Terrace, Walkerville, Adelaide, and he claimed to have served four years in the British Army. He probably reached Australia in 1913 and possibly some grievance had led him to migrate, for during the war he would not speak of his past and he visited his mother and sister in London only rarely.

Garratt joined the 5th Reinforcements of the 16th Battalion at Oaklands, South Australia, on 11 January 1915, and held the temporary ranks of corporal from 16 January and sergeant from 6 March. He left Australia on 20 April, and joined his unit at Anzac on 13 July, reverting to private on that date. Five days later he was evacuated with a slight wound in the hand, but returned on 13 November, and for the rest of his life remained with 'D' Company, 16th Battalion. He served at Anzac until the evacuation and was promoted corporal on 24 December. On 7 June 1916 his unit reached France where he took part in the fierce fighting before Mouquet Farm in August and on 11 April 1917, as a sergeant, in the 1st battle of Bullecourt. In this murderous trench battle almost 80 per cent of his brigade were casualties; in the German trenches Garratt organized a party which repulsed a counter-attack, then captured and held 300 yards (275 m) of trench, and finally, when ordered to withdraw, made a skilful retreat. He won the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the award second to the Victoria Cross for non-officers.

On 8 June Garratt was promoted company quartermaster sergeant and on 26 September, at Polygon Wood, led a charge under heavy fire to destroy a pillbox, capturing its guns and killing their crews. During the consolidation he 'displayed the greatest coolness and disregard of danger under intense fire'. For this he won a Bar to his D.C.M., one of only about thirty Australians so decorated in the war. His comrades especially admired the consistency of his leadership and daring: on at least three other occasions he might easily have won decorations, and become a well-known war hero. He was gazetted second lieutenant on 1 May 1918, served with his battalion throughout the remainder of its front-line service, and on 9 November 1918 died of Spanish influenza. He was buried in Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension in France. His passing went unremarked in Australia: his estate was settled by the Public Trustee, and the Walkerville honour-roll does not include his name. Yet his mates did not forget, and sixty-one years after his death his name brought an old comrade to tears. 'He was a magnificent soldier', he said. He was indeed.

Citation details
Bill Gammage, 'Garratt, Charles Clement (1892–1918)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.


Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Charles Clement GARRATT was born in Islington, London on 21st July, 1892

His parents were Charles Edward GARRATT & Maggie Constance BROWN who married in England in 1888