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Welcome to the April edition of Veterans Enews.
Charles James Barclay was born in Cohuna, Victoria in 1894 but was educated at Naracoorte Public School in South Australia.
At the time of his enlistment he was a plumber, aged 20, and was serving as a Sergeant in the Citizen Military Forces.
On 18 August 1914, just two weeks after Britain declared war on Germany, he enlisted into the 10th Battalion as a Corporal and embarked aboard the Transport ship the Ascanius on 20 October 1914.
Charles survived Gallipoli and fought on the Western Front before he was reported as wounded and missing on 16 August 1916 at Mouquet Farm, near Pozieres in France.
Hi sister Lucy, wrote to the Information Bureau later in 1916:
I am writing to you to know if you would try and find out about my brother. We had word from the War Office, about two months ago, that he was wounded, and we have not had any word since, from him, or about him, and we are very anxious. He was wounded in France in the firing line. We have written to him every mail, hoping to have some word. If you would be so kind as to try to find out anything about him, I would be most obliged.
More letters followed, each acknowledged by the Information Bureau.
On 30 May 1917, nine and a half months after he was reported missing, the Information Bureau advised that word had been received from a soldier of Charles’ battalion who stated:
I knew him well. He came from Mt Gambier. The last seen of him was going out of our trenches badly wounded towards the evening in front of Mouquet Farm. He was on his way to the Dressing Station about a mile away under very heavy shell fire. Nothing more has been heard of him since.
A cable dated 6 July 1917, 11 months after he was reported missing, confirmed his families’ worst fears.
It stated simply; “Killed in Action 16 August 1916, previously reported wounded and missing”.
On July 13, despite her undoubted grief, his sister Lucy conveyed her thanks to the Information Bureau for making the enquiries on her behalf.
At 3:17 am, on 24 April 2019, nine letters a metre high will be projected onto the front of the Australian War Memorial, below the dome covering the Hall of Memory housing the tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier.
That name along with all our 62,000 First World War dead, is projected to remind us to never allow the past to become a distant stranger.
The name? – C J Barclay.
On Anzac Day I will remember Charles Barclay and the more than 9,000 South Australians who died in serving our country.
With the upcoming Anzac commemorative services, I wish to inform you that ‘Anzac on Torrens’ will continue this year at the Torrens Parade Ground.
Following the Dawn Service in the city, breakfast sandwiches and coffee will be available for purchase from approximately 6:30am until 9:00am.
Between 10:00am and 2:00pm beverages and BBQ sausages will be available for purchase for those who wish to return to the parade ground following the Anzac Day March.
To all in the veteran community, Anzac Day is your day. Enjoy it in the knowledge that those you have served will be honouring your service and sacrifice.
We will remember them.
Read the full eNews issue here.