Charles Ernest UPCHURCH MM


UPCHURCH, Charles Ernest

Service Number: 3182
Enlisted: 28 July 1915, Claremont, Tasmania
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 52nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Emu Bay, Tasmania, 9 September 1895
Home Town: Somerset, Waratah/Wynyard, Tasmania
Schooling: Berry Correspondance School of Horsemanship
Occupation: Farm labourer
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 16 July 1917, aged 21 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient)
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World War 1 Service

28 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3182, Claremont, Tasmania
16 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3182, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
16 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3182, 12th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Port Lincoln, Melbourne
16 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 3182, 52nd Infantry Battalion

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Charles Ernest was born as Ernest William UPCHURCH on 9th Sept. 1895 in Emu Bay, Tasmania

His parents were Ernest UPCHURCH and Emily Margaret MUIR

He enlisted on 28th July, 1915 with the 12th Battalion - Unit embarked from Melbourne on HMAT Port Lincoln on 16th October 1915 - he had previously served for 18 months in the Senior Cadets in Wynyard and Beaconsfield

He was awarded the Military Medal in 1917 for Gallantry & Devotion to Duty

He was Killed in Action on 16th July, 1917 - No known grave - he is listed in the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium and the Australian War memorial - Unit at death was the 52nd Battalion

His brother 2923 Pte. Andrew UPCHURCH (/explore/people/212030) was also killed in Action on 6th Paril, 1917



The following letters relative to the death of her son, Corpl. Charlie Upchurch, have been received by Mrs. Unchurch, Somerset, who has now lost two sons at the war: — Sergt. R. K. Stone writes :-

"It is with the deepest regret that I write you this very sad letter. I am very sorry to say that your son, and my comrade, Charlie, was killed to-day about 9.30 a.m. Charlie, Ben Naylor and Alf Sweetman, were all in a dug-out together, and a large shell landed right on top of it and blew it in. They were all killed instantaneously. It's nice to know that he did not suffer at all. Charlie was a great friend of mine. Captain Blackwood, our chaplain, came along to conduct the funeral. He was very sorry for Charlie, as he knew him so very well. There is one consolation, the captain said, we all knew that your son was quite prepared to go over ever since the battalion was formed. Charlie had won the admiration of all his comrades, both for bravery on the field, and for his good comradeship. His death is deeply regretted by all the officers and men of the company. I come from Penguin myself, and knew Charlie before I left Tassy. We were at Claremont Camp together, and have been so practically ever since. Please tell Alf. Sweetman's people just how he was killed."

Chaplain C. Blackwood, in a letter of condolence, writes: —

"My heart bleeds for you in sincerest sympathy, in the great sacrifice you have made in giving two noble sons for the cause of Empire and righteousness. There never was a sweeter, cleaner, straighter boy than Charlie Unchurch. I was talking to him on the Sunday afternoon just outside his dugout. I saw him in the front line trench not long before midnight. He was asleep in his dugout with two others, when, at 7 a.m., a big shell landed right on the dugout, and three of them were killed instantly. They knew nothing about it at all. We buried them reverently, with the full rites of the Church in the afternoon. Their mates attended. Guns were roaring overhead, in a quiet little opening in the woods. Beautiful tall trees are all around, and crosses will be erected in a day or so. Charlie knew about his brother; he saw it in an official list. They are together now. I was glad he had his leave to England. He was telling me what a fine time he had had. He really seemed to enjoy London. Any little personal effects that can be found will be sent home, though I am afraid most things were destroyed in the dugout." - from the North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times 24 Oct 1917 (