Charles (Clive) SCHINTLER

SCHINTLER, Charles

Service Number: 1880
Enlisted: 9 July 1915, Bendigo, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 1st Battalion Imperial Camel Corps
Born: Bendigo, Victoria, August 1886
Home Town: White Hills, Bendigo, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Memorials: White Hills Arch of Triumph
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World War 1 Service

9 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1880, Bendigo, Victoria
18 Jan 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1880, 8th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Jan 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1880, 8th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Vestalia, Melbourne
19 Apr 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 1880, 3 Battalion Imperial Camel Corps, Battles of Gaza , GSW (left thigh)
2 Nov 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Trooper, 1st Battalion Imperial Camel Corps
27 Sep 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 1880, 1st Battalion Imperial Camel Corps

Help us honour Charles Schintler's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Jack Coyne

Pte Charles Schintler  SN 1880

Charles Schintler enlisted at the Bendigo Town Hall on July 9th, 1915. The Bendigoian newspaper reported that on that day, 77 young men presented at the Town hall, with 58 Passed and 19 were Rejected.

Charles was one month off turning 21years of age. He listed his occupation as a Labourer and that he lived at 67 McCrae st, Bendigo with his father. Charle's mother was deceased. Charles agreed on his Attestation paper that two fifths of his pay whilst in the Army would go to his father who was blind. Before Charles had turned 20, his father had signed a consent form to allow Charles to join the British Expeditionary Force. Being twenty years of age, he no longer needed this. 

Charles would go into the Bendigo camp at Epsom race track on that same day. Not far from home the camp was known as the 16th Depot Battalion and he would spend over 4 months training there. 

On November (21) Charles would be allocated to the 13th Reinforcements for the 8th Light Horse Brigade. It is likely Charles owned a horse, however, it was an enormous honour to be assigned to the Light Horse who were already fighting courageously on the fateful cliffs of the Dardanelles Peninsula. He would transfer to the Light Horse training base at Seymour in late November.

It would be just two months before the13th reinforcements would  embark for Egypt on January 18, 1916 onboard HMAT Vestalia A44. Here they would join the remains of the Light Horse brigades who had fought so bravely at Gallipoli as infantry soldiers.

Initially Australia promised four regiments of Light Horse, 2000 men, to fight in the British cause. By the end of the war, 16 regiments would be in action. The Light Horse were seen as the "national arm of Australia's defence" and young men, most from the country, flocked to join. Many brought their own horses and some even brought their dogs. It all seemed like a great adventure.

If a man's horse met army standards, it was bought by the Commonwealth for about £30 ($60). Many men were given remounts - army horses bought by Commonwealth purchasing officers from graziers and breeders. These horses were called "walers" because they were a New South Wales stockhorse type - strong, great-hearted animals with the strains of the thoroughbred and semi-draught to give them speed, strength and stamina.

(Source - http://www.lighthorse.org.au/resources/history-of-the-australian-light-horse/the-mounted-soldiers-of-australia )

Egypt was of great strategic importance to England and France because of the Suez Canal linking the Red Sea with the Mediterranean. And Palestine, (present-day Israel) which had been part of Turkey's empire for hundreds of years, lay at Egypt's north-eastern border, across the Sinai Desert.

Before the Australians left for Gallipoli, the Turks had launched an unsuccessful attack on the Canal from across the Sinai. Now, in August of 1916, a massive Turkish force prepared for a second attack on the vital waterway. British and Australian forces headed out into the Sinai to block the Turks from Romani - a crucial group of oases in a great waste of sand dunes. (Source - http://www.lighthorse.org.au/resources/history-of-the-australian-light-horse/the-mounted-soldiers-of-australia ) 

When Charles arrived in Egypt in the early months of 1916 the Australian Imperial Force in Egypt was in a dreadful state. Survivors of Gallipoli campaign were mixed with the thousands of raw recruits that arrived daily. New battalions needed to be established and the pressure was on for as many troops as possible to head to Europe to front line against the Germans.

In March and April, Charles would find himself reallocated to different parts of the Light horse, then mustered as a Gunner in the Artillery and then he would end in Hospital classified as medically unfit in late April. His exact ailment is bot listed. 

Back at camp at Serapeum in early June (2) he would rejoin the Artillery were he would spend the next 5 months. The lure of the saddle returns and in November he is ‘Taken on Strength’ (TOS) into the Australian Camel Squadron in particular the Australian Camel Training Unit. After two months of training, he is TOS into the Imperial Camel Corps, in the 1st Anzac Battalion.

The Australian War Museum describes the role of camels and the Imperial Camel Corp here -

Camels were very useful in Sinai and Palestine. Tens of thousands were needed to get water to the soldiers, and they were also good for patrolling in the desert.

Later on they were also used to transport cameliers into battle, whereupon the riders would dismount to fight. They could also carry wounded men on stretchers placed on each side of the animal. Despite their usefulness, the camels were a rough ride, making transportation of the wounded uncomfortable and painful.

The Imperial Camel Corps Brigade was formed in 1916 from British and Commonwealth troops and was attached to the Anzac Mounted Division. There were four regiments: the 1st and 3rd were Australian, the 2nd was British, and the 4th was a mix of New Zealanders and Australians. Each regiment had around 770 men, and at full strength the brigade contained almost 4,000 camels. The men of the ICC had a rough reputation, largely because when the Corps was originally formed Australian battalion commanders had seized upon it as an opportunity to offload some of their more difficult characters.

Camels were well suited for life in the desert; they could carry around 145 kilograms and go without water for up to five days. Horses were also used by the troops, but required water daily. Initially transported from India and then Egypt, the camels could travel from 4.8 to 9.5 kilometres per hour.  In 1917 the brigade took part in the fighting at Gaza and Beersheba in Palestine. 

The operations of the ICC in the Western Desert in 1916 were characterised by long patrols and brief skirmishes with the Senussi. British commanders in Egypt appreciated the fighting qualities of the ICC and in late 1916 the ICC was transferred to the Sinai desert to take part in operations against the Turkish army. Here the battalions of the ICC fought alongside Australian light horse units at Romani, Magdhaba and Rafa. 

The ICC remained an integral part of the British and dominion force that advanced north through Palestine in 1917 and 1918. It suffered particularly heavily during the Second Battle of Gaza on 19 April 1917, and in the operations conducted in November to destroy the Turkish defensive line between Gaza and Beersheba. (Source – AWM - https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/blog/imperial-camel-corps )

 The coastal city of Gaza was the heart of the main Turkish defensive position in southern Palestine. Three major battles were launched in 1917 by British and dominion forces to capture Gaza - only the third succeeded in this object. 

 The second battle of Gaza took place three weeks later, beginning on 17 April 1917. In the interim the Turks had extended and improved their defences. The British Commander Dobell launched another frontal assault on the Turkish defences, which was supported by six tanks and gas shells. The tanks and the gas were both dismal failures and the attacking forces could make little headway against well-sited Turkish redoubts. After three days of fighting the attack was called off, having not gained any significant ground. 

It was at the second battle of Gaza that Charles Schintler was wounded in action on April 19, 1917.  Receiving a Gun Shot Wound (GSW) to the left thigh he was taken behind the front line and transferred by train over the next few days to hospital in Cairo. We read later in his medical report that his wound was very close to being fatal as Charles was suffering from an ‘Aneurism to the Femoral Artery’.

We read in the Bendigo papers a letter to the Editor from Staff Sgt H A P Emonson on July 14, 1917 -  Letter from Egypt                         ‘Sir, -Just a line on various subjects                                                I am the Staff-Sergeant Dispenser of No.1 4 at the Australian General Hospital, located in Egypt. There are about three other Bendigo Iads on the staff of the hospital as well as myself, and occasionally Bendigo district lads are here as patients. Clive Schintler, of McCrae-street, was in here wounded, but has since gone back to Victoria invalided’.

Four months after suffering this severe wound Charles finally embarks for home onboard the HT ‘Port of Sydney’ on July 11, 1917.  He would be 6 weeks on the seas and land in Melbourne on August 22, 1917.  We can read here in the Bendigoian Newspaper on the Welcome Home he received in White Hills.

WELCOMED HOME.

PRIVATE C. SCHINTLER.

A public welcome home, arranged by the Welcome Home Committee of White Hills,

was tendered to Private C. Schintler of McCrae-street, in the Public Hall on Thursday night. A most enthusiastic audience was present. A great number of soldiers from the Epsom Camp also attended, many being unable to get in.                                                                   The programme opened by Private C. Schintler entering the room with his relatives, when the whole audience sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" with great enthusiasm. Then followed an excellent programme….

Private Schintler stepped forward to receive the medal and certificate presented to him by the chairman, of the Welcome Home Committee (Mr. F. H. Benson) on behalf of the citizens of White Hills. Mr. Benson congratulated him on his safe return, and wished him speedy recovery to health. The medal bore the following inscription: -- "Presented to Private C. Schintler on his return from active service by the White Hills residents, 2/8/17." The illuminated address was worded :---"T Private .C. Schintler on his return from active service in defence of home and country abroad. Enlisted 12th July, 1915; returned 22nd August, 1917. Having voluntarily responded to the call of your King and country aid heroically and nobly done your part in the great European war against the tyranny and military oppression of a ruthless foe, we, the residents of White Hills, desire to "express our admiration of your zeal, valor and patriotism our appreciation of your services, and our gratitude to the Almighty for your safe return.

Private Charles Schintler is remembered by the people of White Hills. The names of the local lads who sacrificed their lives and those that were fortunate to return from the Great War are shown on the embossed copper plaques on the White Hills Arch of Triumph, at the entrance to the Botanic Gardens.

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