Charles Launcelot MOULE MC, MID

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MOULE, Charles Launcelot

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 13 February 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Unley Park, South Australia, 19 June 1879
Home Town: Gilberton, Walkerville, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Electrician
Died: Died of wounds, Poperinge, Belgium, 19 October 1917, aged 38 years
Cemetery: Nine Elms British Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide Postmaster General's Department WWI Honour Board , Adelaide Rowing Club WW1 Pictorial Honour Board, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Postmaster General's Department Adelaide, St Peters All Souls Anglican Church Honour Board WW1, St Peters Heroes War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

13 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, Adelaide, South Australia
1 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
1 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Port Lincoln, Adelaide
22 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
15 Apr 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 50th Infantry Battalion
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 50th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
2 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 50th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
9 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 50th Infantry Battalion, Battle of Messines
12 Oct 1917: Honoured Military Cross, 1st Passchendaele
18 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 50th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, GSW (leg amputated)

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Biography

Studio portrait of Lieutenant Charles Launcelot Moule, courtesy of Adelaide Rowing Club

Charles Moule was a single 35 year old electrician from East Adelaide when he enlisted on 13 February 1915. He had prior service with the Militia's 78th Infantry Battalion, his documentation indicating he belonged to C Company at Kadina on the Yorke Peninsula. His next of kin was listed as his sisterr, Miss Kate Moule resident of Wagin in Western Australia.  By 1918 she had married and become Mrs Kate Notage of "Parksyerring" presumably arural property near Wagin.

Charles was assigned to, trained with and embarked for overseas from Adelaide with the 4th Reinforcements for the 10th Battalion on 1 April 1915 aboard HMAT Port Lincoln and joined the 10th Battalion at Gallipoli on 22 June 1915 serving through until the withdrawal.  The 10th Battalion was already on Lemnos when the main force extracted having beene repatriated there after six months continuous front line service at ANZAC.

After their return to Egypt, the AIF was 'doubled' by splitting original Battalions.  In the 10th's case, it spawned the 50th Battalion in the 4th Division with a draft of experienced officers NCO and men.  Charles Moule was promoted to Captain (Capt) on 15 April 1916 and transferred to the newly formed 50th Battalion.  He subsequently embarked for France arriving on 11 June 1916.

Thereafter the Battalion saw action in the latter stages of Pozieres / Mouquet Farm, in fighting near Mouquet Farm itself.

Capt Moule was (recommended for) Mentioned in Despatches for his actions at Noreuil and Bellecourt, France, from 2 to 11 April 1917 and at Messines from 9 to 11 June 1917 and was later awarded a Military Cross (MC) for his actions near Zonnebeke and Broodseinde, Belgium, from 11 to 18 October 1917. After being wounded in the leg near Zonnebeke on 18 October 1917, he was evacuated to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station where he had his leg amputated. Capt Moule died on 19 October 1917 and was buried at Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium.

 

From the book Fallen Saints

Charles Launcelot Moule was born in Adelaide on 19 June 1879. Before the war, he was an electrician and had served two years as a subaltern in C Company, 78th Infantry at Kadina South Australia. Charles applied for a commission in the AIF on 18 February 1915 and his application was approved, he was posted to the 10th Battalion as a Lieutenant on 18 May.  

On 1 April, Lieutenants Moule and de Courcy Ireland with the 150 men that made up the 4th quota of reinforcements for the battalion sailed from Adelaide aboard HMAT Port Lincoln; this quota was taken on the battalion’s strength at Anzac on 30 May.

Although he managed stay on the Peninsula throughout the campaign, after the evacuation Charles returned to Egypt and was admitted to No 2 Australian General Hospital, Ghizereh, with Bronchitis.

He rejoined the battalion on 25 February but the following day when the 50th Battalion was raised he was transferred across as a Captain with effect 12 March 1916.

The 50th along with the 49th, 51st and 52nd Battalions made up the infantry component of the 13th Brigade, 4th Australian Division. The battalion suffered significant losses at Mouquet Farm 13 - 15 August and after being committed there again on 3 September spent the remainder of 1916 in the front line or training in the rear areas.

After surviving the bleak winter, the 50th took part in the follow up operations when the Germans retreated to the Hindenburg Line. For his actions during the attack at Noreuil on 2 April 1917 Private Joergen Jensen (formerly 10th Battalion) was awarded the Victoria Cross. Later that year when operations moved to the Ypres sector in Belgium, the battalion participated in the battles of Messines and Polygon Wood.

During a heavy German artillery barrage near Broodseinde Ridge on 18 October 1917, Captain Moule was severely wounded.  He was evacuated to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station where he was treated for multiple wounds including a gunshot wound to the leg, which unfortunately required amputation. Captain Moule died the following day; he was 38 years of age.

Reports, letters and witness Statements [i]

When interviewed in late January 1918, Private Herbert Smart said Captain Moule was attached to A Coy and had been at Battalion Headquarters at Westhoek.

‘He came up with mules and rations and they were unloading when Fritz spotted them and sent over a salvo. Capt Moule was wounded in the legs. He was taken to the dressing-station and then to hospital where he died. I was on the phone when the message came through to say that he had to undergo an operation for the amputation of his leg and that he died almost directly afterwards. I was a signaller at the time and at Headquarters.’

Private Arthur Hart who was interviewed on 8 February 1918 described the Quartermaster as ‘dark, rather tall, used to wear glasses. He said he had been killed by a shell on 19 October ‘while seeing the rations handed over to the party from the line.’ Hart said, ‘The shelling was extremely heavy at the time. I did not see him killed, but he was so well known in the Battn that everybody heard at once. I don’t know where he is buried.’

During an interview in February 1918, Private Herbert Smart who had known Moule for 18 months described him as being ‘over medium height, slight, very dark, about 36, a very good sport, cricket particularly, and came from South Australia.’ He told the interviewing officer that on 19 October when the Battalion was at Passchendaele holding the line. Captain Moule had come forward with mules and was unloading rations when a shell fell nearby and he was wounded in the leg. Smart recalled the Q.M. had been taken to the Aid Post and from there to the Casualty Clearing Station where his leg was amputated. He said an eye witness who he had spoken to on the phone at Battalion H.Q. told him that Captain Moule had died. ‘I am not certain but I think this C.C.S. was near Bailleul where there was a Military Cemetery.’

In March, Corporal Arthur Carter said he saw Moule wounded whilst supervising the unloading of rations. ‘He was caught by a piece of shell which hit him about the knee. I dressed his wounds for him and he was sent away to the Dressing Station, and seemed very cheerful. He was a very good officer and was very well liked by all the men.’

Letter dated 18 March 1918 from his OC: - Re Capt. C. L. Moule. He died of wounds at the 44th C.C.S. on 19.10.7 and was buried at 9 Elms Cemetery S. W. of Poperinghe. We unfortunately have no further particulars, but no doubt the 44th C.C.S. could supply more detail if enquiries were made.

Mentioned in Despatches

This officer had been Quartermaster of the 50th Battalion from 29th February 1917, to date. During this period he has carried out his duties, in a painstaking, energetic conscientious and highly efficient manner. During offensive operations at NOREUIL and BULLECOURT from 2nd to 11th April 1917, and lastly North-East of MESSINES from 9th to 11th June, 1917, when he personally conducted his mule train through heavy hostile artillery fire, arriving successfully at a point far closer to the front line than any previous pack transport had reached.

(Sgd) T W GLASGOW

Brigadier-General,

                                                                                Commanding 13th. Aust. Inf. Brigade [ii]

Recommendation for Military Cross.

Between ZONNEBEKE and BROODSEINDE on the afternoon of the 18th Octr. 1917, this officer set a particularly splendid example in gallantry and dogged determination in completing his task, just as he was arriving at the forward ration dump a heavy hostile barrage fell in the vicinity. He worked through and commenced unloading. The barrage then thickened but although men and horses were being hit near him he kept at his work until offloading was finished. Still intent on continuing in his usual thorough manner he started loading empty food containers and water cans for the return journey. Some of the animals were shot down as soon as loaded and he had their loads shifted to other animals and sent them away. The work was almost completed when unfortunately he was wounded. As Quartermaster on numerous other occasions he had done most excellent service under heavy fire, pushing rations and stores forward into well advanced positions, but during this last tour he entirely beat all his previous records in spite of the daily loss from hostile shell fire of both drivers and pack animals. It was only by his energy and fearlessness that the front line was kept well supplied throughout the tour under adverse weather conditions in this badly shelled sector. [iii]



[i] Australian War Memorial, Australian Red Cross wounded and missing enquiry bureau files – Moule, Charles Launcelot / 1840306, viewed 17 November 2005
[ii] Australian War Memorial, Honours and Awards (Recommendations) - Moule, Charles Launcelot - / 1/212P2 - 4th Aust Division - 18/9/1917 to 23/9/1917 - Citation: AWM 28 1/212P2, p. 55
[iii] ibid, Honours and Awards (Recommendations) Charles Launcelot Moule to be awarded a Military Cross ,viewed 17 November 2005

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