Charles Bouchier CASS

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CASS, Charles Bouchier

Service Number: 934
Enlisted: 2 December 1914, Oaklands, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Whixley, York, England, 4 February 1889
Home Town: Pyap, Loxton Waikerie, South Australia
Schooling: Archbishop Holgates School, York
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Peronne, France, 2 September 1918, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Loxton Soldiers Memorial Rotunda
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World War 1 Service

2 Dec 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 934, Oaklands, South Australia
2 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 934, 3rd Light Horse Regiment
2 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 934, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Botanist, Adelaide
28 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 934, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
23 Sep 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 43rd Infantry Battalion
2 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 934, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Mont St Quentin / Peronne

Bouchier

This information is provided by Peg Malycha(niece) & Julie Loxton(great niece)

Charles Bouchier Cass known as Bouchier to his family & friends was the second child born February 4th, 1889 to parents James Joseph & Annie Louisa Cass in Whixley, Yorkshire, England.

He was educated at Archbishop Holgates School in York. After completing his education he began work on the family farm 'West Farm' in Whixley.

The family which consisted of 1 daughter and 5 sons emigrated to Australia arriving in June 1914. The family settled on a farm at Pyap West in the Loxton district, Chesson park consisting of 764ha of land.

Soon after arriving war was declared, Bouchier enlisted on December 2nd, 1914. Originally enlisting in the 3rd Lighthorse Regiment, 5th Reinforcement he embarked at Adelaide on the HMAT A59 'Botanist' on June 2nd 1915.

On August 28th 1915 he was sent with his unit as reinforcements to Gallipoli. In a letter home written on Sept. 13th 1915 he mentions " its work night & day & sleep in your spare time. Its been raining this morning which made things pretty miserable as we have no shelter but we are levelling some ground on the hill sides to put up winter quarters. It looks like we are going to have Turkey everywhere, but not a bit to eat for Xmas". By October 9th he had Typhoid and was shipped out of Gallipoli and admitted to Brook War Hospital in England.

After re-joining his unit in Egypt by July 1916 he was sent back to England due to illness. After recovery he was transferred to the 43rd Battalion, B Company on September 23rd 1916. By November 25th 1916 he was in France. He spent the early months of 1917 in & out of hospital with mumps/conjunctivitis.

The 43rd Battalion was involved on June 7th 1917 in the Battle of Messines.

On July 31st 1917 Bouchier was wounded with gunshot wounds to his shoulder & leg while fighting at Warneton. He spent until March 16th 1918 in England recovering & was then sent back to France. In a letter home to his mother on Dec 18th he explains to her "you wanted to know what my job was in the firing line in one letter. Well I have been in everything in the inf mans line from raiding parties, wiring parties, Lewis gunner, scout & a rifleman & bomber. But when I get back I don't think I shall pull any special job. The best job I had last trip was in the raiding party but we were dead lucky every time I went over"

During the Battle of Hamel he was wounded again this time a gunshot wound to his head. By July 27th 1918 he had re-joined his unit.

On September 2nd, 1918 while stretcher bearing at the Battle of Mont St Quentin he was killed by a piece of shell through his heart. The other stretcher bearer & German officer they were carrying were not injured. Private Arthur Dean, the other stretcher bearer wrote to the Red Cross with a firsthand account of his unfortunate death. From the Red Cross letter we know Arthur Dean & Bouchier had been stretcher bearing together for months. Private Dean helped bury "his late friend" on the side of the road & erected a cross with his name, number & battalion. He was 29 years old.

He is buried at Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

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Charles Cass - Short Biography

Charles was born in Whixley, Yorkshire to James and Annie Cass as their second son. In early 1914 Charles emigrated from England to Pyap West, South Australia, with his parents and five siblings. The year previously, the family had purchased 1800 hectares of land to farm throughout the area. Upon arrival, locals were amused by the Cass family; Peg Maycha, a granddaughter of a neighbouring farmer, remembers being told about ‘those Cass boys with their funny accents and who used to wear a collar and tie to cut wood’.

On the 2nd of December 1914, Charles enlisted with the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade. Charles joined the Light Horse Brigade as he was an avid horse rider and experienced battles at Gallipoli and the Nile Valley in between illnesses. On the 23rd of September 1916, Charles became part of the 43rd Infantry Battalion within the 3rd Division and 11th Brigade. This was due to him being ‘taken on strength’ by the 43rd Battalion.

Charles arrived on the Western Front in December 1916 and spent the next year involved in the torment of gruesome trench warfare throughout Flanders. According to D. Richardson (Australian Army Website) as part of Sir Alexander Goodley’s ANZAC Corps, on the morning of the 7th of June, the 43rd Battalion was instructed to advance through Messines and onto flat ground. Thus, Charles formed with his fellow corps members in the nearby woods, already displaying immense courage and bravery. However, although the Germans were unaware that this upcoming attack was to come from the woods, the area was gassed. The gas would burn at the eyes, nose and mouth; causing blindness or asphyxiation. During this deadly commotion, the 3rd Division lost around 1000 men whilst (it is to be assumed) Charles lost many friends.
Shortly after the Battle of Messines, Charles was severely wounded in both his left shoulder and leg. He was admitted to the 2nd South General Hospital in Bristol, England on the 4th of August 1917 where he stayed until he was discharged from medical care late September . .
Upon return to warfare, Charles became involved in the battle of Villers-Bretonneux after his battalion was moved to the Somme Valley. Australian troops took over this battle from depleted British armed forces. They were immediately assaulted with enormous willpower as on the 4th of April the Germans struck with 15 divisions and captured Hamel and Hill 104 (a strategic base and lookout).
In July 1918, Charles was taking part in what was described as a ‘textbook victory’. The Battle of Hamel’s aim was to capture the town of Hamel from German forces and to create a larger defensive hold around Hill 104 and the township of Amiens. As described in the Australian Dictionary of Biographies, Lieutenant General John Monash ordered each participating tank crew became friends with the particular infantry battalion whom they were to work with during warfare. Charles and the 43rd Battalion soon learnt how important these friendships were to be. Marching through a small wood north of Hamel, Charles came under fire from a gun situated with the township. A platoon sergeant from the 43rd Battalion pulled on the bell handle of the tank and opened the door. He then directed the tank crew towards the gun’s location, which was subsequently destroyed by the charging tank . This quick act of bravery and comradeship saved many lives that day; Charles included.

Charles’ experiences at Hamel ended in a fearsome way after he was wounded in the head by a bullet. Charles was sent to the 12th General Hospital on the 5th of August where he made a quick recovery and returned to the front line within the month .

When Charles returned from medical care, he joined the 43rd Battalion in warfare around the town of Allaine and Mt. St. Quentin. On the 2nd of September 1918, Charles spent the day stretcher bearing. He worked through the terrifying conditions and pain of seeing his comrades injured until 9pm where he found time to take an injured German Major to the Dressing Station. According to later reports from Private Arthur Dean , the pair were within a hundred yards of the station when a shell exploded and the separating shrapnel hit Charles through the chest. Dean ran for help from the Dressing Station, as neither he or the German Major had been injured, but upon return it was found that Charles Cass had already drawn his last breath. Charles was buried in a field at Allaine, to the left of Mt. St. Quentin, on the 3rd of September with a cross bearing his name placed above and his personal effects sent home to his father.

In Pyap West, when news of Charles’ death came the family were in shock. They were saddened more so when a few days’ later news came that Charles’ younger brother, James Oliver Cass, had also recently passed away in much the same area of France. Both boys left a long standing impact on the family and the area; so much so that some of these still can be seen today - for example, a house near the original homestead was left unbuilt. The Cass farm itself, however, is still a working area and is run through descendant ownership of the Cass family. Further away, in Whixley, both Charles and James are remembered as part of the village and have memorials on the village website .

Charles Cass was a brave solider, continually returning to service after many an illness or injury. He was a friend to all and kept his spirits high. Charles was a pure example of the ANZAC Spirit and a true Australian.

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Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Charles Bouchier CASS was born in 1889 in Whixley, York, England

His parents were James Joseph CASS & Annie Louisa BURTON who married in 1886 in England -marriage registered in Easingwold.

After initial service including at Gallipoli, with the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, he was transferred to the 43rd Infantry Battalion in September 1916 and proceeded to the Western Front.

Two years later, he was part of the 3rd Division's flanking movement to secure the open flank of the Australian Corps attack on Mont St Quentin.  Charles was wounded near Allaine and subsequently died of wounds on the 2nd September.  He was buried in the Peronne Cemetery Extension. 

Two of his brothers also served in WW1 - one died only 5 days after Charles death

1. James Oliver CASS (SN 2282) Died of Wounds 7th September, 1918

2. John CASS (SN 754) Returned to Australia in 1919

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