Charles Christopher DONCASTER

DONCASTER, Charles Christopher

Service Number: 2439
Enlisted: 6 June 1915, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 53rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Whittlesea, England, 25 December 1897
Home Town: Sydney, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Whittlesea Boys National School
Occupation: Boundary rider
Died: Natural causes (bowel cancer), Grafton, New South Wales, 26 November 1965, aged 67 years
Cemetery: Mullumbimby Cemetery, NSW
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World War 1 Service

6 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2439, Liverpool, New South Wales
14 Jul 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2439, 1st Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
14 Jul 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2439, 1st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Orsova, Sydney
2 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2439, 1st Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli
13 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 53rd Infantry Battalion
19 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2439, 53rd Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix), GSW (arm and head)
7 Feb 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 2439, 53rd Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Lincoln Doncaster

Charles Christopher Doncaster was an ordinary person who became involved in one of the worlds most horrific events. Charles was only 18 when he joined the Australian Imperial Forces to fight in the First World War.

"I wanted to see a bit before it's all over..." Charles was quoted in a local newspaper. Little did he know of the atrocities to come.

Charles was born in the town of Whittlesea, Cambridgeshire England on the 25th December 1897. On the 18th June 1914 Charles left England bound for a new life in Australia.

Initially, Charles worked as a boundary rider responsible for looking after more than 5,000 sheep in bush country.

Charles was looking for adventure, so he decided to enlist to fight in the Great War. Being under 21 years old he needed his parents consent to enlist, so his application was refused. Determined to join, Charles wrote to the Victoria Barracks in Sydney explaining that his parents were in England and he was unable to get their permission. His determination was rewarded as the authorities allowed him to enlist.

On the 6th of June 1915 Charles became a soldier in the 1st Battalion, 7th Reinforcement. Charles and his unit embarked from Sydney to the cheers of the large crowd gathered to farewell them. His adventure had just began as he set sail on the HMAT Orsova, bound for Egypt.

On arrival in Egypt, Charles and his unit continued their training. When on leave, Charles visited sities such as the pyramids and the Sphinx. On Tuesday 2nd November 1915 Charles arrived at Gallipoli and landed under heavy fire from the Turks. Whilst setting camp that night, bullets were whistling over their heads.

Gallipoli involved trench warfare where opposing armies used trenches as sheilds from enemy fire. Charles noted in his journal that during the day they were able to use periscope rifles to check the enemy line, but at night they were forced to look over the top of the trench, exposing themselves to enemy fire.

Charles was one of the last Australian soldiers to evacate from Gallipoli on the 20th December 1915. He would later describe it as "the most eerie and uncanny experience he had ever had."

Charles returned to Egypt where the Australians waited to be transported to the Western Front in Europe. On the 28th of June 1916 Charles arrived at the southern French port city of Marseille.

On the 19th July 1916, Charles was seriously wounded whilst trying to rescue one of his officers under heavy enemy fire in France. Charles suffered a gunshot wound to his arm and head. He was transported to England to recuperate and then sent home to Australia in November 1917.

After the war Charles settled in Northern NSW and married Alice Gillies. Charles had 5 children, 4 daughters and one son. Charles worked as a tick inspector and later ran a general store in South Grafton. Charles was also an active and high ranking member of his local Masonic Lodge.

After a battle with bowel cancer, Charles Christopher Doncaster died on the 26th November 1965 aged 68 years.

Lest we forget an ANZAC hero.