Charles Edward Car (c.1881-1926?)
World War One Veterans Item Type Metadata
Next of Kin
Address at time of Enlistment
Place of Burial
No.5317 Private Charles Edward Car
It is suspected that Charles Edward Car was an alias, used by Charles Edward Stewart, when he enlisted in the A.I.F.
The birth of Charles Edward Stewart was registered in Sale, Victoria in 1881. His parents were Charles Edward Stewart (a teacher)* and Ellen Carr.**
They had married in Gippsland in 1880 (Certificate No.1880/235), and had four children:
- Charles Edward Stewart, born at Sale in 1881
- James Dundas Stewart, born at Toongabbie in 1882
- Leonard Ammesley Stewart, born at Toongabbie in 1886
- Loftus Algie Stewart, born at Toongabbie in 1888
NOTE: Because there are no people locatable in Victoria bearing the name "Charles Car", it is suspected that the Charles Edward Car, who enlisted in the A.I.F. at Werribee in 1916, had done so using a derivation of his mother’s maiden name; which was CARR.
Prior to enlisting in the A.I.F. Charles Edward Car claimed that he worked in the Werribee district as a labourer. He took his oath of enlistment in the A.I.F. at Werribee on 7 April 1916. On the same day he was medically examined by the local Werribee doctor, Dr. Manley, and sent on to Melbourne where he again enlisted, on the following day.
After completing initial training at the Royal Park Camp, he was appointed as a Private with the 14th Reinforcements for the 23rd Infantry Battalion.
At the age of 36 years, Private Charles Edward Car embarked at Melbourne per HMAT Miltiades A28 on 1 August 1916, with the reinforcements for the 23rd Infantry Battalion, and sailed for England. They disembarked at Plymouth on 25 September 1916 and marched-in to the 6th Training Battalion at Rollestone. (On the Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire)
While he was stationed in the training camp in England, Private Car was charged with two serious offences:
- He was absent without leave for three days, and
- He neglected to obey unit Standing Orders.
After being found guilty, he was awarded nine days Confinement to Camp, and deprived of nine days pay.
Two months later, on 19 November 1916, he embarked at Folkestone and sailed to France, where he was taken on strength with the 23rd Battalion. They were then stationed at the Flers Support Line, near Dernancourt in France.
On 17 December 1916, the 23rd Battalion arrived by train at Ribemont in France. It was on this day that Private Car went absent without leave for 15 days.
He was charged and found guilty, at a Field General Court Martial, held at the Ribemont Base, on 24 January 1917. The sentence imposed by the Court being 2 years imprisonment, with hard labour.
On 9 February 1917, Private Car was admitted to the Military Prison at Abancourt, where he remained until 27 July 1917, when his sentence was suspended.
After being released, he was returned to the 23rd Battalion "in the field" at Bandringhem near Arques (in France), on 4 August 1917.
Two weeks later, on 19 September 1917, Private Car again went missing, this time for five days. He was declared to be "an illegal absentee", until he re-joined his unit in Belgium, and was subsequently arrested, on 23 October 1917.
His case of deserting from His Majesty’s Service was heard by a Field General Court martial, held "in the field", on 3 December 1917. He was found to be guilty, and sentenced to Penal Servitude for Life. This was later commuted to 10 Years of Penal Servitude.
On 7 January 1918, Private Car was admitted to the No.5 Military Prison at Les Altagues, to serve his sentence.
Following the declaration of the Armistice on 11 November 1918, all prison sentences were reviewed, and on 29 December 1918, his sentence was suspended, and he was released from prison. On 3 January 1919, he re-joined the 23rd Battalion at Nallines-Haies, and awaited a return passage to Australia.
Private Car returned to Australia on 19 June 1919 per Miltiades, and was discharged from the A.I.F. at Melbourne on 31 January 1920.
His two War Service Medals were posted to him via the secretary of the R.S. & S.I.L.A. at Ballarat in August 1923. He signed as having received his medals, but they were subsequently returned to the Defence Department by the Victorian Police in May 1926. ***
As noted on page 30 of his Attestation Papers. Charles died at Ballarat Hospital in May 1926, with a note that this information was supplied by Police Department.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal No.51213
- Victory Medal No.50198
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: Not recorded
Name never appeared in the Werribee Shire Banner’s published Roll of Honor columns.
* Ancestry.com - 1903 Victorian Electoral Roll
** Digger – Pioneer Index Victoria.
*** Note on his Service file
Unit War Diary
Pioneer Index 1837-1888 CD
Federation Index 1889-1901 CD
Edwardian Index 1902-1913 CD
Great War Index 1914-1920 CD
Marriage Index 1921-1942