The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Sergeant (Later Captain) Charles Patterson

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: Charles Patterson

Ancestor's date of birth: 27/02/1875

Ancestor's date of death: 19/01/1915

Cause of Death: Internal Injuries suffered in accident on Hull docks when supervising loading of supplies to head to France

Service Number: 4

Colony or State of enlistment: VIC, Place of Enlistment: Langwarrin

Unit: 1st Victorian Mounted Infrantry

Rank attained in Boer War: SGT, Date Effective: 1898

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): CAPT, Date Effective: 01/07/1909

Murray Page: 223

Contingent: First Victorian

Ship: Medic, Date of Sailing: 28/10/1899

Other Boer War Service: After being convalesced to England in May 1900 he was offered a Commission with the Lancashire Fusiliers and after passing the examination was sent to China for a short period of time before returning to the Boer War under Lord Kitchener in January 1901. He took on the duties of Signalling Officer in the 8th Division in the British Army and was stationed at both Dalmanutha in July and then Belfast in the Transvaal.

Memorial details: Lawnwood Cemetery, Adel, 10 kilometres out of Leeds in Yorkshire

Decorations: Queen's South Africa Medal with three clasps, King's South Africa Medal with two clasps, British War Medal

Personal Characteristics: He was a likeable fellow, popular with all people from all walks of life, was a thinker both in war and in peacetime and able to come up with ideas to inprove the soldiers lot, some of which were put into practice by the authorities of the day. From his days as a boy he had learnt how to ride a horse properly being taught by his father George to have a good 'seat' and a 'straight back' at all times. He was critical and reflective but did not lack the 'inward turning eye'; it is written that what that eye saw was not revealed to anyone. Charlie understood and accepted the rules of the establishment whether that be within his role as a soldier or which came as part of the society in which he was stationed/living at the time. From a family perspective he was always ready to lend a hand or a pound if it was required and this extended to others who were in dire circumstances. Charlie maintained an ability to get on with everyone and anyone and was at home wherever he went. He was said to turn acquaintances into friends at first sight. When dying, he sent out no signals of distress according to Alan Beeton and kept doggedly cheerful to the end. At the time of his passing he had a servant named Rigby who attended to him with devotion to the end.

Reasons to go and fight: Brother-in-law was a Lieutenant Colonel in VMR and he followed his footsteps. His older brother Eugene (Euie) had also decided to head to South Africa of his own accord. Charlie became a dedicated soldier.

Details of service in war: Charlie fought under Major Eddy at Pink Hill and in the aftermath of the extended fighting Charlie found himself the highest ranked unwounded man on the hill and led the surviving members of his Victorian Company together with men from the Wiltshire Regiment from the battleground to base for which he was mentioned in despatches.

Service and life after the Boer War: After the War Charlie resumed duties with the Lancashire Fusiliers, being sent to Ireland for an extended period. This was his mother's birth country and he happily saw service there for several years and in the process caught up with his family. In September he was made a 1st Lieutenant and served under General Pole-Carew. Five months later was presented to the King at Buckingham Palace. In 1909 Charlie left Ireland and was attached to the Intelligence Department at Regimental Headquarters and was on the staff of General Lyttleton at the War Office. Upon elevated to Captain Charlie was stationed at Fleetwood Camp beside the Irish Sea. in June 1911 he was sent to Sringar in Kashmir and the Moultan in West Pakistan. In November 1913 he was stationed in Moscow at St Petersberg and in December had been sent to Finland. By mid 1914 he had been reassigned to duties in England where he was preparing to leave with his men for France when accidentally critically injured. Initially hospitalised locally, he was transferred to the 2nd Northern General Military Hospital in Leeds where he lingered for 9 weeks before passing away on 19 January 1915. Two hundred soldiers lined the road by the hospital then followed the funeral carriages. a firing party of sixteen men walked ahead of the hearse with arms reversed and six local officer volunteered to act as bearers. Charlie's close friend Alan Beeton from the 18th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers wrote a lengthy 'Appreciation' commenting on Charlie's talent for making friends, being able to command men without pomp and being aware of the role a soldier's women folk played in supporting their men in the fields of war. Alan Beeton noted that Charlie had continued to correspond with several Boers he had known in South African concentration camps during his time there. Charlie acknowledged they were all men together, fighting under orders and for what they believed in and continued to treat this group of men with respect after the conclusion of the war. Charlie never married and always kept a part of his birth place, Daylesford, in his heart owning several large blocks of land in the town at the time of his death.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Pamela Hore, Burwood East VIC
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Niece


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