5781 Pte. Charles Daniel Wishart (1891 – 1916)
Charles Daniel Wishart was born in Korong Vale, Victoria during 1891, the fifth of seven children of David Wishart, a labourer from the Orkney Islands, and his wife, Margaret Buchanan. David had emigrated aged 18 to Victoria in 1864 and married Charles’ mother nine years later in Castlemaine. By 1905 the family had moved to Wedderburn Junction with Charles eventually finding employment locally as a labourer.
On 2 February 1916 Charles enlisted in Bendigo and joined the 16th Depot Battalion. At the end of March, he was temporarily transferred to the 17th Reinforcements, 6th Battalion at Broadmeadows before being attached to the 18th Reinforcements, 8th Battalion on 7 June. On 3 July the ’18th’ left for England from Melbourne on board the troopship ‘Ayrshire’ which arrived in Plymouth on 2 September. After disembarking Charles made his way to camp at Perham Downs for further military training with the 2nd Training Battalion prior to proceeding to France on 22 October.
Before deployment to his battalion, Charles spent almost three weeks at the 1st Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples where he would likely have undergone a strict medical check and at least ten days of additional training. He was eventually allotted to the 60th Battalion on 10 November and taken on strength of his new unit in Flesselles two days later. The battalion had almost been destroyed during the summer at the Battle of Fromelles and would see little offensive action for the rest of 1916.
Towards the end of November, Charles gained his first taste of life in the trenches, however, on the 27th he was killed, probably during an enemy artillery barrage. The line occupied by the battalion had been described as ‘alleged trenches’ and appear to have offered little in the way of protection from the enemy. Charles’ body was either not recovered, or identified, and he is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.
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