Charles Henry Blunt
Service Number 5779

By late 1915 and more than a year into the war, the Army happily enlisted Charles Blunt who, at five foot three and a half inches (161 centimetres) had previously been rejected as being too short.

A sawmill labourer from Canungra, Charles was one of five sons of Sarah Wease who served in the Great War and the second of three to be killed in action on the Western Front.

He had enlisted on New Year’s Eve 1915, aged 25, and was killed in action in Belgium three days before Christmas, 1917.

Private Blunt was among the 18th reinforcements of the 9th Battalion who left Brisbane on the HMAT Seang Choon on May 4, 1916, bound for England via Egypt.

On July 29, the battalion left Alexandria for England.  Charles, on the Arcadian, arrived on August 9 and proceeded to Perham Downs in Wiltshire for further training.

He was sick in hospital from November 1 to 16 and it was almost a full year before he finally crossed the Channel to France, via Southampton, in October, 1917.

Charles had not even joined his battalion before being wounded in action.

Arriving in France on October 21, he was en route to joining his battalion in Belgium when he suffered a shell wound to the left arm on October 27.

Charles finally joined the 9th Battalion in France on November 30, a week after being discharged from hospital. The battalion then moved into Belgium.

“Killed in action three days before Christmas, 1917.”

A lock of hair was returned to his mother.

Two days after the defeat of the second conscription referendum in Australia, Charles was killed in action, on December 22, 1917, in what was considered a comparatively quiet sector of Messines, south of Ypres.

He was buried in the Wulverghem Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, 13 kilometres south of the Ypres town centre, with some 1000 other Commonwealth servicemen.

A lock of hair was among the handful of possessions returned to Charles’ mother, Sarah Wease, in March 1918. By then, she had lost three sons, Charles, his brother Joseph Blunt and step-brother, Oliver Wease, all within six months.

Two other sons, Victor Wease and William Wease, who also served on the Western Front during the Great War, are also remembered on Canungra’s memorial.


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