Charles Arthur FINN

Charles Arthur FINN

Sapper C. A. Finn, of Gilgandra killed in action (Newspaper unknown, ca. 1917)

Sapper C. A. Finn, of Gilgandra killed in action (Newspaper unknown, ca. 1917)

Per his military service record (regimental no. 6289), Charles Arthur Finn was born at Mt McDonald, N.S.W.[1] He gave his age as 27 years and 3 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as Blacksmith. He completed his medical on 7th October 1915 at Gilgandra and was attested by Captain Nicholas on 9th October 1915 at Gilgandra. He claimed to have had no previous military service.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the Engineers.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Gilgandra, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as mother, Mrs Eliza Finn, ‘Rosevale’, Everdon, Gilgandra N.S.W.

Sapper Finn departed Sydney on the HMAT A26 Armidale on 21st March 1916 with the 15th reinforcements for the 1st Field Company Engineers. He arrived in Egypt on 24th April 1916.

On the 28th May 1916 Sapper Finn left Alexandria aboard the SS Briton bound for England where he trained before being sent to France on 18th August 1916.

He marched into the 4th Division Base Depot at Etaples on 18th August 1916.

Sapper Finn was transferred to the 13th Field Company Engineers, and was one of 15 reinforcements who marched into the 13th Field Company Engineers on  27th August 1916, whilst it was resting at Pernois, France.

On the 29th November 1916 he was evacuated sick whilst the Company was conducting works in the forward area in the vicinity of Delville Wood, France

On the 1st December 1916 he was admitted to the 14th General Hospital at Boulogne, France, with Influenza. On the 9th of December 1916 he was transferred to the 1st Convalescent Depot at Boulogne. On the 16th of December 1916 he was sent to the 25th General Hospital suffering from piles. On the 3rd of January 1917 he was transferred to the 7th Convalescent Depot.

On the 14th February 1917 Sapper Finn was sent to the No.3 Large Rest Camp. On the 18th February 1917 whilst at the Number 3 Large Rest Camp Sapper Finn was charged with Whilst Being On Active Service Being in Bed One Hour after Reveille. He was awarded Five Days Confined to Barracks.

On the 26th February 1917 Sapper Finn marched into the Australian Engineers Base Depot at Etaples. On the 15th March 1917 he rejoined the 13th Field Company whilst it was in Reserve at Baizieux, France.

On the 7th April 1917 the 13th Field Company was conducting road maintenance, and locating and repairing wells and looking for mines, in the vicinity of Bapaume, France when he and another member of the Company were killed by a high explosive shell. According to his Red Cross Wounded and Missing report, Sapper Finn and another soldier ‘were taking detonators out of a German unexploded mine when a shell came over and killed them both’, and they were ‘both buried at Noreuil, where they were at the time’. [2]

His body was exhumed from this grave after the war, and he was then buried at the H.A.C. Cemetery, Ecoust-St. Mein, Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France.


Charles Alfred Finn's headstone at H.A.C. Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 6/9/2014)

Charles Arthur Finn’s headstone at H.A.C. Cemetery, France (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 6/9/2014)

Sapper Finn’s name is commemorated on panel 23 on the Australian War Memorial First World War Roll of Honour.

His name is also listed on the Gilgandra War Memorial, and the Cooee March Memorial Park Gateway at Gilgandra.


[1] NAA: B2455, FINN C A

[2] ‘6289 Sapper Charles Arthur Finn, 13th Field Company Engineers’, Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Files, 1914-1918 War 1DRL/0428,

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