Charles WOOD MM*

WOOD, Charles

Service Number: 2453
Enlisted: 7 July 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Bendigo, date not yet discovered
Home Town: Bendigo, Greater Bendigo, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Draper
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World War 1 Service

7 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2453, 24th Infantry Battalion
29 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2453, 24th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '14' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: RMS Osterley embarkation_ship_number: '' public_note: ''
17 May 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 6th Machine Gun Company
14 Jul 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2453, 6th Machine Gun Company, Messines, Reported as self-inflicted. Investigated via court martial result found without negligence
30 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2453, 6th Machine Gun Company, Third Ypres
20 Sep 1917: Honoured Military Medal, Menin Road, Recommendation: 'At WESTHOEK during the attack of the 20th September 1917 this man on three successive occasions and under very heavy shell fire repaired his broken telephone lines thus maintaining the necessary communication between the Group Commander and the three Batteries. Owing to Signaller Wood's promptness and lack of regard for personal risk loss of communication was in each instance only a matter of a few minutes.' Medal Source: Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 7 March 1918
25 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2453, 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, German Spring Offensive 1918
14 Jun 1918: Honoured Military Medal and bar, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front", Bar to Military Medal recommendation. 'At TREUX near ALBERT on the morning of 14th June 1918, this man showed great courage and devotion to duty while repairing telephone lines. Eight breaks were mended despite an extremely heavy enemy bombardment. While testing the line at MARRETT WOOD, Section Headquarters, a shell buried an Officer and two men. Private WOOD, although badly shaken obtained help from in extricating the officer, he again proceeded to establish communication. He had to go out again and mend two new breaks displaying great coolness and disregard of danger.

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Biography contributed by Jack Coyne

Charles WOOD

Charles Wood’s family was one of the earliest on the Goldfields  arriving in Bendigo in 1851. His grandfather was also Charles Wood a miner originally however, then a successful Bendigo merchant and his father William was the Secretary of the Bendigo Stock Exchange.

Address; 54 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo
Marital status: Single
Age at enlistment: 20
Next of kin: Mother, Mrs M Durham, 54 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo

Charles arrived too late in Egypt to serve at Gallipoli. 

He was transferedr to the newly formed Machine Gun Company in March 1916, as the AIF 'doubled' and established the supporting Arms needed on the Western Front, and embarked for France with his new unit.

The public of Bendigo first read about Charles’s war in September 1917: - ‘In one of the Beehive windows in Pall Mall is shown a belt with water bottle attached, taken from the body of a dead German in France by Signaller Charles Wood, who, previous to enlistment in the Australian Imperial Forces, was a salesman in the Beehive dress department. The belt is studded with the crests and badges of many famous British regiments also found on the battlefield, and is a tragic memento of the great war. The belt has been four months in transit from France to his mother in Bendigo, and since its despatch Signaller Wood has, unfortunately, been reported among the wounded’.[1]

In December 1917, they read a rather long and informative letter from Charles written to a colleague at the Beehive store: -    ‘Mr. Geo. Trevean. of the Beehive Stores has received the following letter from Signaller Chas. Wood, of the 2nd Australian Division, who, prior to his enlistment two years ago, was a junior salesman in the dress department of the Beehive. He writes from France as follows :----

"France, 29/9/17. Just think of it, two years since I left the shores of Australia to-day. What a lot has happened in that time. One cannot realise what he has been through and what he has seen, only hope it will not be another two years. Fine weather has favored us these last few weeks, and I can tell you our fellows have made the best of things and given Fritz some hurry up. The Australians have done marvellous work, as you will observe by the daily papers. You can get far more news from them than what I am permitted to write, owing to having to deal with the censor. Have partaken in two stunts since I returned from my English leave, and each time the Australian's have always gained their objectives. The same can also be said of the other British regiments who took part. The Scotties have done great work. You will always find the Jocks and Australians where there is any thing doing. John Carmichael has every reason for being proud of his countrymen. The Jocks will always do the Australians, and well they have found it out since they have been in France. The first stunt we were in was our own division, and another Australian division. Before our fellows went over our artillery opened up with a most tremendous bombardment, which no doubt put the wind up Fritz. All objectives were taken, and very soon afterwards prisoners came streaming back, going as fast as their legs would take them. Others had to carry their guns out, but our fellows finished the day by adding another victory to their list. Fritz counter-attacked three or four times, but got his knock back each time. Next time we were in two fresh lots for 48 hours, quite enough, too, as he put his big shells over thick and heavy. A big number of prisoners was again taken. . . You have no idea how our artillery, is pasting Fritz. We think he is giving us a rough spin, but it is really nothing to what he is getting. Our fellows have far the upper hand in everything. We will be having another stunt in a few more days. It's the only way to break Fritz's backbone ; give him no rest at all, and, take it from me, he is not getting it day and night. Even if the infantry are not at him. Our artillery never stops. It's one continuous bombardment. I only hope the weather keeps good. Though it means harder times for us it will hasten the end of this business. Our fellows have got to do all they can before the wet weather sets in again. Once the weather breaks and we begin to get the mud, everything comes to a standstill….."[2]

Finally in January 1918, Bendigo would the good news on Charles heroics in France: -  ‘We hear Word has been received in Bendigo to the effect that Signaller Charles Wood of the 6th Battalion, has been awarded the Military Medal. Signaller Wood is the son of Mrs Durham, of McCrae-street and the late Mr. W. J. Wood. who was a well known Bendigo shareholder. Prior to en listing he was employed in the dress department at the Beehive stores.’[3]                                                           


Regimental No. 2453

Place of birth: Bendigo Victoria

Religion: Baptist

Occupation: Draper

Address; 54 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo

Marital status: Single

Age at enlistment: 20

Next of kin: Mother, Mrs M Durham, 54 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo

Enlistment date: 7 July 1915

Unit name: 24th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement & 2nd Machine Gun Battalion

Embarked: HMAT RMS Osterley on 29 September 1915

Final Rank: Private

Fate: Returned to Australia 13 April 1919

Medal Source: Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31

Date: 7 March 1918

[1] Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918)  Fri 14 Sep 1917  Page 5

[2] Bendigonian (Bendigo, Vic. : 1914 - 1918)  Thu 13 Dec 1917  Page 4  LETTERS FROM SOLDIERS.
[3] Bendigonian (Bendigo, Vic. : 1914 - 1918)  Thu 3 Jan 1918  Page 8 SOLDIERS HONORED. AWARDED MILITARY MEDAL.