THERE isn’t a story of local tragedy to rival the fate of three brothers from Korumburra; George Dawes, killed in action on August 7, 1915 at the age of 29 in Gallipoli, Charles Dawes, who died of his wounds on November 7, 1916 aged 30 on the Somme front in France and Richard Gordon Dawes, aged 17, who died of his wounds a day later on November 8, 1916 and was buried at a cemetery 15km away.
Here, ahead of Remembrance Day, Thursday November 11, is the story of one of them, Private Charles Dawes by François Berthout from the Virtual War Memorial website.
Charles Dawes was born in 1888 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, and was the son of Richard and Mary Dawes. After living in England, Charles and his family moved to Australia and lived in Korumburra, South Gippsland, Victoria and Charles was educated at Korumburra State School, then after his studies, he lived in Jumbunna, Victoria, where he worked as a miner.
Enlisted (4399) on January 31, 1916 at Leongatha, Victoria, in the 21st Australian Infantry Battalion, 11th Reinforcement, he embarked with his unit from Melbourne, Victoria, on board RMS Orontes on March 29, 1916, and sailed to England where he joined the 6th Training Battalion to receive his training and on September 5, 1916 he embarked with his battalion for France where he was disembarked the next day, on September 6, 1916 at Etaples. On September 19, Charles and his battalion were sent to the front of the Somme where he fought with great courage.
Unfortunately, two months later, on November 7, 1916, while fighting in the Heilly sector, Charles met his fate and was severely wounded in the abdomen by a gunshot wound and died of his wounds the same day, he was 30 years old.
Today, Charles rests in peace with his comrades, friends and brothers in arms at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l’Abbe, Somme and his grave bears the following inscription: “His loved ones in Australia mourn the loss of a good son “.
Charles Dawes shares his grave with Private number 153, Francis Cornwall Moad who fought in the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion who died of his wounds on November 8, 1916 at the age of 22 and his grave bears the following inscription “Thy will be done in memory of a fond and loving son “.
Charles Dawes had two brothers who fought in the great war.
Corporal number 344 George Dawes fought in the 8th Australian Infantry Battalion and was killed in action on August 7, 1915 at the age of 29 in Gallipoli, he rests in peace in Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, Gallipoli, and his grave bears the following inscription “In life we loved him dearly in death we do the same”.
Private number 5079 Richard Gordon Dawes who fought in the 21st Australian Infantry Battalion and who died of his wounds on November 8, 1916 at the age of 17, he now rests in peace in Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription “Please, place a flower for his loved ones in Australia”.
They were among more than 60,000 Australian military killed in World War 1. In total 416,809 Australians enlisted for service in the First World War, representing 38.7% of the male population aged 18 to 44.
Provided by the Virtual War Memorial Australia at https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/164655