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state library of queensland
John Oxley Library

Digitised@SLQ: Charles Edward collection

By JOL Admin | 4 February 2016

Studio portrait of Charles Edward, known to his family as 'Sonny'

Studio portrait of Charles Edward, known to his family as 'Sonny'

State Library recently digitised the 29619 Charles Edward Collection 1917-1918, a little collection containing two photographs and two postcards belonging to 5341 Private Charles Edward.

To my dear Sister - embroidered postcard

To my dear Sister - embroidered postcard

Born in 1887, Charles Edward, a horse-driver in the coal mines around Silkstone, Ipswich, Queensland, was 30 years old when he enlisted in November 1917. He joined the 15th reinforcements of the 31st Infantry Battalion, and embarked from Sydney on 2nd March 1918, on the SS Ormonde.

Unfortunately for Charles, he contracted measles on the journey, and upon arrival in Egypt on 4th April, he was immediately evacuated to the Segregation Camp at Suez. While he recovered and was released for duty on 3rd May, his return to his unit was delayed by an incident of drunkenness while on duty, and on 4th May he was charged, forfeited two weeks' pay, and was detained for 14 days at the Moascar Detention Compound. 

From detention, Charles transferred to Alexandria, and embarked for Southampton on the Indarra. Once in England, he was attached to 14th Training Battalion for further training at Codford Camp, Salisbury, then finally, on 28th August 1918 he headed to France with the 31st Battalion. 

Souvenir de France - embroidered postcard

Souvenir de France - embroidered postcard

Charles survived the few remaining months of the war, and remained in the field with his unit after the armistice. His service record reveals that on 6th March 1919, he was temporarily detached for duty with the 5th Australian Division Boxing Troupe. From 9th-27th April he was again detached for duty with the 5th Division Loading Party in France. He marched in from France on 13th May, and finally returned to Australia on the Port Melbourne on 5th July 1919.

The collection includes two beautifully preserved embroidered silk postcards, a studio photograph of Charles in uniform, all sent to his sister Jane, with short messages on the back to let her know he was well and still alive. 

Undated studio photograph of two girls, possibly Jane and Isabella Edward, sisters of Charles Edward. Taken at Edward's Studio, Brisbane St. Ipswich


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