The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Trooper Thomas Borlase

Charles King Unwin was born 26 August 1877 in Mount Gambier, South Australia, second son to parents William Unwin and Catherine (nee Hickman) (Source: SA BDM; SAGHS).

Prior to enlistment for the Anglo Boer war, he worked as a linesman for the Brisbane Tramways Company (Source: "City Police Court" The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947) 16 November 1898). In 1898 he witnessed the accidental death of a fellow linesman working at the Roma Street railway and was called as a witness in the inquest (Source: 898 'Inquiry Reopened.', The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), 19 May, p. 6).

He enlisted in the Third Queensland Contingent (3 QMI) as a private, and was later promoted to Corporal. Whilst in South Africa, suffered an accidental gunshot wound to the leg (knee) at Mafeking (Source: Murray page number - 467)

He was married to Miss Agnes Bell Sawers, on 1 January 1902, in Brisbane.


UNWIN.- SAWERS-On the 1 January, at the
Wickham-terrace Presbyterian Church by the
Rev W Sweyn Macqueen, Charles King Unwin,
to Agnes Bell Sawers, both of Brisbane.
(Source: 1902 'Family Notices', The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), 8 January, p. 4).

Charles also served in the First World War as a Second Lieutenant with the 31 Infantry Battalion - 14 Reinforcements (Source: Australian War Memorial). He enlisted on 27 November 1915 and embarked with his battalion on board the H.M.A.T. 20 "Hororata" on 14 June 1917. His occupation at enlistment in 1915 was listed as Linesman and he and his wife were living at Wilson Street, Paddington, Brisbane. Charles was a tall man for the time, being 180cm and his appearance on his Attestation Papers was described as "Dark complexion, Blue Eyes, Grey Hair". He saw active service in France and at one point was stationed at the Camouflage Depot at Wimereux. The Wimereux Camouflage Depot was both a military depot and a school of Camouflage, and was mentioned in General Monash's book "War Letters of General Monash".

After the First World War he continued to work as a linesman and was one of the linesman examined during the June 1921 Commonwealth Arbitration in the Line Inspectors Association and the Australian Postal Linemen's Unions claims against the Public Service Commissioner for the Commonwealth and the Postmaster General. (Source: FEDERAL SERVICE. (1921, June 25). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), p. 4)

Charles died in Brisbane, Queensland at the age of 80, on 22 June 1958, as a result of a heart complaint. (Source: NAA: B2455, UNWIN CHARLES KING)

INTERESTING NOTE ON CHARLES' ANCESTRY: His Great Grandfather, Hugh Foulkes, was a decorated foot soldier (23rd Regiment of Foot - the Welch Fusiliers) from the Napoleonic Wars (saw service at Copenhagen and later, on the Peninsula at Albuera and Badajoz). After emigrating to Australia in the 1830's, Foulkes was selected by Charles Sturt as one of the Bullock Drivers for his "Expedition into the Interior".

Contributed by: Timna Green*, Corinda, Queensland (1st Cousin, 3 times removed)

*By coincidence, Charles King Unwin (my first cousin, three times removed) served in the same contingent (3rd Queensland Mounted Infantry) as Benjamin Rudhall - who is my Great Great Grandfather! There was NO family connection at the time (this wouldn't happen until the 1960's, when my parents met and married)

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