The AIF Project

Charles DARRAGH

Regimental number1313
Place of birthBallycastle, Co Antrim, Ireland
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation33
Height5' 7"
Weight149.5 lbs
Next of kinFather, Archie Darragh, Churchfield, Ballycastle, Co Antrim, Ireland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date6 November 1914
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll2 November 1914
Place of enlistmentTownsville, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name15th Battalion, 1st Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/32/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A35 Berrima on 22 December 1914
Regimental number from Nominal Roll3614A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll47th Battalion
FateReturned to Australia 28 August 1919
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated on Ballycastle War Memorial, Co. Antrim, Ireland.
Family/military connectionsBrother: 5799 Archibald DARRAGH
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Wounded in action, Gallipoli, 27 April 1915 (bullet wound, back); admitted to No 1 Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis, 2 May 1915; transferred to Helouan Convalescent Hospital, 24 June 1915.

Commenced return to Australia from Suez on board 'Themistocles', 15 August 1915; discharged, 19 January 1916.

Re-enlisted, 47th Bn, 10th Reinforcement, 13 February 1917; embarked Sydney on board HMAT A28 'Miltiades', 2 August 1917; disembarked Glasgow, Scotland, 2 October 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 16 January 1918; taken on strength, 47th Bn, 23 January 1918. Re-allotted Regimental No 3614A.

Missing in action, 5 April 1918. Postcard received in London stated he was a Prisoner of War. Debriefing statement, 5 November 1918, Darragh stated: 'We were holding the railway cutting between Albert and Dernancourt. The enemy heavily attacked us on the morning of the 5th. April. Sgt. Burton was in charge of the Company Headquarters Lewis Gunners to whom I belonged. The enemy broke through and about 18 of us found ourselves surrounded and had to surrender. I was unwounded. The enemy had broken through on our right working round a hill. We were holding a trench at the top of the cutting but the German artillery had blown it to bits ... [Immediately after the capture] I was taken to Etricourt where I was kept till May 12th. It was a large camp of unwounded prisoners of war, but not all were Australians. From here I was sent to the clearing station at Quesnoy and then sent on working commando to Marchelepot near Peronne. We were doing railway construction work behind the German lines, but I could not say that we were ever under our own artillery fire. When the great Allied 'Push' began on August 8th., the Germans decided to shift the prison camp back to Roisel on the other side of Peronne. As we were travelling along the road, mixed with the German transport allied airmen bombed the retreating columns. My right leg was so smashed that it had to be amputated above the knee. I was also wounded in the left leg and in the head. My right leg was amputated that day in a field hospital at Marchelepot. I was taken straight to hospital at Valenciennes and after 20 days there was transferred to Quedlingburg in Germany. I remained at Quedlinburg till I was exchanged ... '

Reported repatriated from Germany through Holland; arrived in England, 23 October 1918.

Admitted to 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea, 24 October 1918 (amputated right leg: bullet wound, severe). Admitted to 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Southall, 18 February 1919. Discharged on furlough, 24 April 1919, to report to 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital for convalescence, 24 May 1919. Admitted to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, 26 May 1919. Absent without leave, 29 May-6 June 1919.

Commenced return to Australia on board 'Kanowna', 28 August 1919; disembarked Sydney, 26 October 1919, for onward rail travel to Brisbane.

Died in Brisbane General Hospital, 10 May 1920, of 'acute alcoholism, delirium tremens, heart failure'. Mother enquired: ' ... did he know he was going to die or was he conscious at his last. You can know from the Doctor or the Clergy who attended him.' Secretary, Brisbane Hospital, replied to 1 Military District: 'The patient was admitted at 2 p.m. on May 10th and died the same day. He became unconscious shortly after admission ... It is not likely that he was aware of his approaching death and we are not able to say whether or no he saw a priest while in the Hospital ... In dealing with correspondence of this kind and in such a case I ignore the question and simply relate that the Chaplain appointed by the Church is unremitting in his attention, visiting the hospital every day and often more than once -- which is no less than the truth and I hope has solaced many mothers.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Date of death10 May 1920
Place of burialToowong Cemetery, Brisbane, Queensland
SourcesNAA: B2455, DARRAGH Charles

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