Charles Alfred Gage

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Charles Alfred Gage. Image courtesy Forbes Advocate.

GAGE, Charles Alfred

Service no: 3558 [1]

Place of birth: Eugowra, 1891

Address: Eugowra

Occupation: Labourer

Next of kin: Christopher Henry Gage (father), Eugowra, later Mary Gage (nee Sloane) (mother), Riley Street, Forbes

Date of enlistment: 9 March 1916

Place of enlistment: Forbes

Age at enlistment: 24

Fate: Joined camp at Bathurst 10 March 1916. Joined 30th Battalion, 8th Reinforcements at Kiama 15 April 1916. Embarked HMAT Ballarat A70 Sydney 5 August 1916. Disembarked Plymouth 30 September 1916. Proceeded to France 12 November 1916. Joined 56th Battalion, Etaples, France, 13 November 1916. Killed in action, France.

Date of death: 3 December 1916

Buried: Half a mile north of Les Boeufs , 3 miles north of Combles, France

Charles Alfred Gage and his brother Christopher Henry Gage were born in Eugowra to Christopher Henry Gage (Snr) and his wife Mary (nee Sloane). They were two of nine known Aboriginal servicemen from the Orange area, and they were both killed in action.

24 year old Charles was working as a labourer in Eugowra when he enlisted in March 1916. He spent a month in camp at Bathurst before joining the 30th Battalion at Kiama in April 1916. Private Gage embarked in Sydney in August that year, arriving in England in late September.

Gage joined the 56th Battalion in France in November 1916 and was killed just three weeks later. Details of his death are sketchy, and he has no known grave. According to fellow soldier, Private Frank Reid, their unit was marching into the firing line on the night of 3 December 3 when a shell burst and killed a number of men, among them Gage. Charles’ older brother, Christopher, was killed in action less than a year later, in September 1917.

In January 1918 the Forbes Advocate reported that Charles’ father had been charged with being “of unsound mind”, and was to be admitted to Parramatta Mental Hospital. A witness reported that “Gage’s two son’s had been killed in the war, and ever since then he had not been the same man.”

Gage was still an inmate of the hospital in May 1922, when Charles’ British War Medal and Victory Medal were issued to his mother, Mary.

Two deaths on the Western Front: The Gage brothers [2]

Indigenous Australian soldier identified 103 years after dying in France during WWI [3]

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