Charles Robert Merchant
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||not known 1894|
|Place of Birth||Karridale, Western Australia|
|Death||29 Jan 1953, aged 58|
|Place of Death||Shenton Park, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||21 years, 3 months|
5'10" (1.78m) tall ; 157 lbs|
71.214 kg; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; light brown hair
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Holyoak, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Mother , Mrs Emma Hall|
|Date of Enlistment||13 Sep 1915|
|Unit/Formation||28th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement / 7th Brigade, 2nd Division|
|Date of Embarkation||18 Jan 1916 ‒ 16 Feb 1916|
|Ship Embarked On||HMAT A7 Medic|
|Date of Return||1 Jun 1919 ‒ 8 Jul 1919|
|Ship Returned On||SS Somali|
|Fate||Return to Australia|
|Monument||Jarrahdale Honour Roll|
British War Medal |
After six weeks basic training, Charles was allocated to the 7th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion and travelled with the draft to Egypt arriving at Alexandria on 16 Feb 1916.
In Egypt, on 12 Mar 1916 he was transferred to the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, and embarked in Alexandria for France a week later on 19 Mar 1916 aboard HMHS Llandovery Castle. During the voyage he was charged with disobeying ship's rules in that he was smoking between decks. Punishment was the loss of 5 days pay and 120 hours of Field Punishment No. 2.
After arriving in France, on 7 Jul 1916 he required treatment from the 1st Australian Field Ambulance and the 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station for a sprained ankle (accidental) and was hospitalised in the 8th Stationary Hospital in Wimereux on 9 Jul 1916. It must have been a severe sprain as a short time later he boarded HMHS St Denis for England. Charles was admitted to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester from 12 Jul until 4 Aug 1916 before he was granted furlough after which he reported to Perham Downs.
At Perham Downs on 7 Oct 1916 Charles was charged with overstaying special leave from midnight 1 Oct 1916 until 2:00pm 2 Nov 1916 for which he was admonished and forfeited a days pay. More seriously, on 2 Nov 1916 he was charged with Gambling in that he was playing a prohibited game in the tent lines "Crown & Anchor" for which he was awarded 168 hours detention. Soon after (10 Nov 1916) he was admitted to hospital with VD, and it was not until 10 Feb 1917, 84 days later, that he rejoined his unit.
Charles proceeded overseas to France through Folkestone on HMT Arundel on 4 Feb 1917 to join the 2nd Pioneer Battalion in the field. He remained with them until 28 Jun 1917 when he sought treatment for syphilis from, in turn the 7th Australian Field Ambulance, the 5th Australian Field Ambulance, the 9th Casualty Clearing Station, the 2nd Canadian General Hospital in Rouen, and the 39th General Hospital at Calais who released him on 22 Aug 1917.
From 1 Mar to 1 Apr 1918, Charles was detached to the 184th Tunnelling Company, before, on 10 Jun 1918 when Charles was appointed Lance Corporal. In Oct 1918 he was hospitalised again, this time in Abbeville for a week with influenza. Charles moved back to England on 10 Apr 1919 after receiving treatment for scabies.
During 1924 Charles married Margaret Mary Josephine Ryan. Although enlisted as a follower of the Church of England, he was buried a Catholic. Margaret died 28 Feb 1986, aged 86 in Inglewood.
Electoral Roll entries - 1925 Jarrahwood, teamster; 1926 Claymore, mill hand; 1931 Nannup settlement, teamster
Charles gave his mother's address as Jarrahwood, South West Railway. Given that the township of Jarrahwood is south east of Busselton, it is thought that he was referring to Jarrahdale Junction (i.e. Mundijong), or Jarrahdale itself.