Charles William FOLEY #3753
Indigenous Australian, Charles FOLEY, 13th Machine Gun Company & 49th Infantry Battalion
Charles (Charley) William FOLEY was well known around the islands of Moreton Bay. Born in 1881 on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) to Charles Foley and Amy, he became a skilled fisherman and strong swimmer. In 1910 he saved the life of a fellow crewman when he was pulled overboard having hooked a large shark. His late father, also Charles was an oysterman like himself in Moreton Bay. Foley volunteered to serve with the first AIF in September 1915 and was assigned to the 12th Reinforcements for the 9th Infantry Battalion. He named his cousin Elizabeth Iselin as his next-of-kin, his father having already passed away in 1911.
Foley embarked for overseas in December 1915 after the evacuation of troops from Gallipoli, and arrived in Egypt when units were being reorganised for operations either in Egypt or in France. Foley was transferred to the 13th Brigade Machine Gun Company in March 1916. When he arrived in France he was reassigned to the 49th Infantry Battalion and served in the front lines. He was admitted to hospital several times suffering from rheumatism and myalgia, and later in May 1917 he contracted mumps and was transferred to hospital in England.
With a short stint in the 69th Infantry Battalion and again with the 49th, Foley's health did not improve and he was repatriated home to Australia in April 1918, to be medically discharged. Charley returned to his home at Dunwich (Goompi) and continued to work as a fisherman until his death in 1944, age 63. He is buried at the Dunwich Cemetery, North Stradbroke Island.
Read more ...
- Service record: FOLEY, Charles William
- Embarkation roll: 12th Reinf. 9th Infantry Battalion
- North Stradbroke Island Museum: First World War Soldiers
- Many served: AIF Aborigines', Reveille, 30 November 1931, p.22
- Scarlett, Philippa. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One. Fourth edition, Indigenous Histories, Macquarie, ACT, 2018
- Image courtesy Stradbroke Island Museum website
- 'Some excitement' Queensland Figaro, 26 May 1910 p5
- 'Funeral notice' The Courier-Mail, 19 April 1944 p6
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History
The information in this blog post has been researched by State Library staff and volunteers, it is based on available information at this time. If you have more information that you would like to share or further research uncovers new findings, this post will be updated.