Tag Archives: Charles R. Wheeler

Richard Charles WHEELER

Richard Charles WHEELER

Per his military service record (regimental no. 5777), ‘Richard Charlie Wheeler’, as he signed his name, was born at Hammersmith, London, England.[1]  (His name is also recorded as Richard Charles Wheeler, and Charles Richard Wheeler, on various documents in his service record). He gave his age as 18 years and 4 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer. His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 5 ½ inches tall, weight 9 stone, with a dark complexion, bluish grey eyes, and dark hair. His religious denomination was Anglican. He claimed that he had no previous military service.

He completed his medical examination on 8th October 1915 at Gilgandra, and was attested by Captain T. A. Nicholas at Gilgandra on 9th October 1915, before the commencement of the Coo-ee March.

‘Charles R. Wheeler’ was reported in The Farmer and Settler as one of the first 25 recruits to enlist at Gilgandra to join the Coo-ee March.[2]

After completing the Co-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll, his name is recorded as ‘Charles Richard Wheeler’, and his address at time of enrolment was not recorded. His next of kin was recorded as his father, C. [Charles] Wheeler, 5 River Terrace, Crisp Road, Hammersmith, London, England.[3]

On 3rd May 1916 Private Wheeler departed Sydney on the HMAT A46 Clan McGillivray, along with fellow Coo-ees Private Herringe, Private Saunders and Private Keating, as part of the 18th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.

He arrived in Egypt in June 1916.

On 6th August 1916 Private Wheeler departed Egypt bound for England aboard the Transport Megantic.

Upon arrival in England he marched into the 4th Training Battalion at Rollerstone, England.

On 7th October 1916 Private Wheeler was charged with being absent without leave from midnight on 5th October 1916 until noon on 7th October 1916. He was awarded 48 hours detention, and fined 3 days pay.

On 14th October 1916 Private Wheeler departed England bound for France. He marched into the 4th Australian Infantry Division Base Depot at Etaples, France, later that day.

On 30th October 1916 Private Wheeler was taken on strength of the 13th Battalion when it was training at Vauchelles, France.[4]

On 1st February 1917 Private Wheeler reported sick. He was back with the Battalion on 3rd February 1917.

On 28th July 1917 Private Wheeler was charged with conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline by writing disrespectfully of his Superior Officer. He was awarded 7 days Field Punishment No. 2.

On 18th September 1917 Private Wheeler went to England on leave. He re-joined the Battalion on 29th September 1917.

On 25th October 1917 Private Wheeler was detached to duty at the 3rd Australian General Hospital at Abbeyville, France.

On 13th April 1918 Private Wheeler was charged with neglect of duty in that he was absent from parade on the night of 11th February 1918. He was awarded 7 days field Punishment No. 2.

On 3rd May 1918 Private Wheeler was charged with whilst on active service drunkeness in Abbeville on 1st May 1918. He was awarded 14 days Field Punishment No. 2.

On 26th June 1918 Private Wheeler was hospitalised with conjunctivitis. He was discharged on 30th June 1918.

On 14th July 1918 Private Wheeler was hospitalised with gastritis. He was discharged on 28th July 1918.

On 7th August 1918 Private Wheeler marched into the Australian Infantry Base Depot at Le Harve, France.

On 14th August 1918 he marched out to re-join the 13th Battalion. He re-joined the Battalion on 19th August 1918 when it was manning the front line in the vicinity of Harbonnieres, France.[5]

On 27th September 1918 Private Wheeler went to England on leave. He returned to his unit from leave in France on 18th October 1918.

On 24th October 1918 he was charged  with overstaying leave in London from 0730 on the 12th of October 1918 till 0730 on the 17th of October 1918. He was awarded 14 days Field Punishment Number 2 and fined 19 days pay.

On 3rd April 1919 Private Wheeler marched out to England and reported to the 1st Training Brigade at Weymouth, England.

On 22nd May 1919 Private Wheeler was charged with being absent without leave from 2359 on 15th May 1919 until 2200 on 16th May 1919. He was awarded 3 days confined to camp, and fined 1 days pay.

On 9th July 1919 ‘Richard Charles Wheeler’ married 19 year old Rose Gertrude Winifred Parsons at the All Soul’s Parish Church of Harlesden, England.

On 18th August 1919 Private Wheeler was charged with being absent without leave from 0900 on 4th August 1919 until 2400 on 5th August 1919. He was admonished and fined 2 days pay.

His service record records that Private Wheeler and his wife embarked for Australia on 8th October 1919 aboard the H.T. Benalla.

 They arrived in Australia on 29th November 1919.

He was discharged termination of period of enlistment on 7th February 1920.



[2] THE ROUTE MARCH (1915, October 12). The Farmer and Settler (Sydney, NSW : 1906 – 1955), p. 3. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116668904

[3] Australia War Memorial. First World War Embarkation Rolls, ‘Charles Richard Wheeler’, HMAT Clan McGillivray A46, 3rd May 1916.

[4] Australian Imperial Force unit war diaries, 1914-18 War – AWM4 Subclass 23/30 – 13th Infantry Battalion, October 1916.

[5] Australian Imperial Force unit war diaries, 1914-18 War – AWM4 Subclass 23/30 – 13th Infantry Battalion, August 1918.

Day 1, Sunday, 10th October, 1915, Gilgandra to Balladoran

The start at Gilgandra (Daily Telegraph 12/10/1915)

The start at Gilgandra (Daily Telegraph 12/10/1915)

Transcribed from The Farmer and Settler, 12 October, 1915, p. 3.


Gilgandra’s greatest of all events, the start of the route march, became a fact of history on Sunday last, when the contingent after a simple religious ceremony stepped out on its long march to the coast.

On Saturday, when the ‘Farmer and Settler’ special reporter, who will march to Sydney, arrived at Gilgandra, he found Captain Nicholas and Drs. Burkitt and Cooper, of Dubbo, on the ground. Captain Nicholas has been appointed to take charge of the contingent, and be will be their leader and instructor all the way through to Sydney.

On Saturday afternoon twenty-five recruits were sworn in. Two failed to pass the doctor, but they will march through to the coast nevertheless. The number of recruits would have been double if the recruiting association had not been compelled to wait so long for the permission of the military authorities, the result being that many men grew tired of waiting, and went into camp. The doctor said that the Gilgandra men were as fine a body of recruits as he had seen, with good feet and sound constitutions. On Saturday night a torchlight procession paraded the town, headed by the band. The recruits were followed by the rifle club and the boy scouts. In the interval of a picture show, Major Winn, of Sydney, and Private Lee, the ex-clergyman recruit, made special appeals to the young men to volunteer.

There were fully three thousand persons, almost the whole population of the district, at the open-air consecration service on Sunday morning, when the Rev. W. Jenkins commended the men to their Creator.

The shire president, Mr. Barden, said he was sure that the twenty-five starting out would be five hundred at the end of the long march. Almost the whole of the people, the largest gathering ever seen at Gilgandra, accompanied the march to Boberah, where a general programme of hand-shaking took place. A guard of honor of young horsewomen   rode at the head of the procession, and the local recruiting association and shire councillors took part. Captain Nicholas formed up his little force — grown already to thirty-one men; and Mr. W. T. Hitchens had the honor of giving the first words of command–‘Quick march.’ Amid resounding cheers the route march had begun, and it was followed for several miles of its long journey, by a great cavalcade of horses and vehicles. Then there was a halt, with more good-byes, more cheers, and the rifle club fired a parting volley.

The heat was intense, and the dust hung over the troops like a pillar of cloud — a fiery cloud, so that when the first stop, Marthaguy, was reached, all were grateful for the lunch spread by the residents, and not less for the facilities provided for a wash and a freshen up. At Marthaguy one new recruit fell in. Many of the Gilgandra folk still followed the column. The young daughter of a prominent citizen left her car and marched alongside the men for some distance; she announced her intention of being present in Martin Place at the finish, and declared that if she had been a boy she would have marched all the way, and gone to the front with the contingent. It is a pity that some of the boys have not the spirit of the girls.

Patriotic sons of the West. A 320 mile march (Sydney Mail 20/10/1915)

‘Patriotic sons of the West. A 320 mile march’ – Coo-ees on the road to Balladoran (Sydney Mail 20/10/1915)

At Balladoran the townspeople met the column a mile out of town and escorted them to their camp with banners, and gave them a hearty welcome. The camp was reached at five o’clock, and here another recruit joined the column.

Following are the names of the first twenty-five to enlist:–

John Quinn, John Macnamara, Stanley E. Stephens, Jack Hunt, William L. Hunt, Albert W. Pearce, Leslie W. Greenleaf, Arthur C. Finn, Francis N. White, Alfred Wardroffe, Victor Quinton, William Alston, Sidney Bennett, John R. Lee, Harold Baxter, Charles R. Wheeler, E. T. Hitchen, James McKeown, James Crowford, Charles E. Marchant, Andrew J. MacGregor, Lawrence L. McGuire, Robert C. Campbell, Peter Wilson, and Frank Humphrey.’

Click here to view the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116668904