Charles Edward (Claude) (George) MCKELVEY

MCKELVEY, Charles Edward (Claude) (George)

Service Numbers: 6899, V6408
Enlisted: 17 June 1916, Geelong, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3 Garrison Brigade
Born: Ballarat, Victoria, 8 May 1881
Home Town: Clunes, Hepburn, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Slaughterman
Died: Natural causes, Colac, Victoria, 11 September 1952, aged 71 years
Cemetery: Colac General Cemetery, Victoria
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World War 1 Service

17 Jun 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 6899, Geelong, Victoria
25 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 6899, 5th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 6899, 5th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
21 Dec 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 6899, 5th Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

30 Sep 1940: Enlisted Private, V6408, Volunteer Defence Corps (SA), Royal Park, Victoria
12 Jan 1943: Discharged Private, V6408, 3 Garrison Brigade

Help us honour Charles Edward (Claude) (George) McKelvey's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by John Edwards

Embarkation Roll ( incorrectly records Christian name as George

Information provided by Claude McKelvey (great-grand-nephew)

If you have a look at the National Archives WW1 Army service records there is no record for a George McKelvey with Service No. 6899. That service number actually belongs to a Claude not's more complicated than that.

I was researching one of my great grandfather's brothers for whom I have a photo of in uniform that resembled a Light Horse uniform. His name is Charles Edward McKelvey, and as I was to discover he enlisted on 21 July 1915 but at the time of looking on the National Archives records his file was empty, there was just a blank attestation paper with his name atop and at the end a copy of a letter from the Clearing Hospital in Seymour saying his papers could not be found and the file was for information purposes for his discharge only.

When I searched further I found there was a record for a Claude McKelvey Service No.: 6899 who had listed the same father being my great great grandfather, which took me by surprise as in my family history research I had found no Claude McKelvey. On getting those records opened I discovered that there was a full record for Claude McKelvey followed by the full record for a Charles McKelvey (the man I was looking for). The latter indicating Charles had indeed enlisted in the light horse, however, he was found drunk on a number of occasions and was discharged as medically unfit before he embarked.

I contacted CARO about this and a very helpful gentleman, whose name I have somewhere, looked into it a bit and contacted me back. What he deduced is that Charles Edward McKelvey had been discharged as medically unfit 'alcoholism' and therefore his Service No.: is recorded as DEPOT. He waited for some time and re-enlisted under the alias 'Claude' on 17 January 1916, giving almost identical personal details, in the AIF and managed to get to France. Obviously someone in the army records had deduced what had happened and put the files together in one unbeknown to others. Since our conversation those files have now been separated on the National Archives records so that link that I found is now broken.

On the subject of George McKelvey Service No.: 6899 appearing on the embarkation rolls, the CARO gentleman suggested that this was a typo due to a misinterpretation. I can understand that as when I say my name Claude when talking to people on the phone they often repeat it back to me as George! Anyway, suffice to say you will not find information for George McKelvey Service No.: 6899 as he did not exist- Claude McKelvey is your man and even he is an alias.

*Charles also shaved 6 years off his age to re-enlist for home service in WW2 aged 59. He was retired from service in 1943 when well into his 60's.