Charles Aubrey Jhonson

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Charles Aubrey Jhonson. Image courtesy Mosman Library Service.

JHONSON, Charles Aubrey (‘Chas’)

Service no: Captain [1]

Place of birth: Bathurst, 5 January 1885

Address: 23 Spofforth Street, Mosman

Occupation: Banker

Next of kin: Walter Jhonson (father), 297 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst

Date of enlistment: N/A Appointed to AIF 13 August 1915

Place of enlistment: N/A

Age at enlistment: 30

Fate: Embarked HMAT A69 Warilda, Sydney, 8 October 1915. Taken on strength 53rd Battalion, Tel-el-Kebir, 16 February 1916. Joined British Expeditionary Force, Marseilles, 28 June 1916. Admitted to 5th Australian Casualty Clearing Station with gunshot wounds to the thigh and arm 20 July 1916. Transferred to 3rd London General Hospital, England, 23 July 1916. Rejoined 53rd Battalion, France, 19 September 1916. Admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance with a gunshot wound to the left arm 26 September 1917. Admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, England, 7 October 1917. Military Cross gazetted 26 November 1917. Rejoined 53rd Battalion, France, 9 December 1917. Awarded Military Cross 20 January 1918. Admitted to 8th Australian Field Ambulance with a gunshot wound to the back 30 September 1918. Transferred to 53rd Casualty Clearing Station 30 September 1918. Died of wounds received in action 2 October 1918.

Date of death: 2 October 1918

Buried: Tincourt New British Cemetery, France, Plot V, Row J, Grave 16

On 20 January 1918 Captain Charles Aubrey Jhonson was awarded the Military Cross:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Though wounded early in the attack he continued to lead his company,
and himself conducted the assault on the objective, and consolidated and secured the position.
His courage and example contributed largely to the success of the operations.

Charles’ medal was one of 2,366 Military Crosses awarded to Australians during the First World War. Charles received his for bravery during the Battle of Polygon Wood in September 1917.

In November 1917 Charles received the following congratulatory letter from General Sir William Birdwood:

Dear Jhonson,
This is a line to congratulate you most heartily upon the Military Cross, which has been awarded to you for your good work
in the operations at Polygon Wood on the 20th September. Although wounded early in the attack, you continued to lead your
company with great courage and ability. Immediately the objective was attained, you set to work in the consolidation of the position,
and refused to leave the line until the position was made secure— some nine hours after you were wounded.
Thank you so much for your gallant conduct, and I trust that your wound is making favourable progress.
Yours sincerely,


Charles was born in Bathurst on 5 January 1885 to solicitor Walter Jhonson and his wife Margaret Susannah nee Cleland. When Charles was a young boy the family moved to Orange where Walter practised as a solicitor.

Charles, aka Chas, was educated at Sydney High School. Prior to his war service he worked at the Bank of Australasia in Orange. Chas was appointed to the Australian Imperial Force on 13 August 1915. He embarked for overseas in October 1915 and served with the 53rd Battalion in Egypt and France.

Charles was wounded in action on three occasions. In July 1916 he received gunshot wounds to the thigh and arm. He was evacuated to the 5th Australian Casualty Clearing Station but later transferred to 3rd London General Hospital in England.

Captain Jhonson rejoined his battalion on 19 September. One week later, on 26 September, Charles was wounded for a second time, sustaining a gunshot wound to the left arm. Again, he was transferred to 3rd London General Hospital in England. He rejoined the 53rd Battalion in France on 9 December.

On 30 September 1918 Captain Jhonson was wounded for a third time, a gunshot wound that proved fatal. Lieutenant AC Elliott of the 53rd Battalion observed:

This officer was in command of two companies advancing astride the Le Catelet Trench during the attack
on the Hindenburg Line near Hellicourt on 30 September 1918. He had done magnificent work and had driven
the enemy back about 800 yards when he was mortally wounded by a gunshot wound in the back.

Captain Jhonson died of his wounds on 2 October 1918, aged 33. He was buried in the Tincourt New British Cemetery in France.

Charles Aubrey Jhonson is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll, the Orange Golf Club Honour Roll, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph, the Mosman Neutral Bay Rifle Club, Our Fallen Comrades Bowl and on panel number 157 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Capt CA Jhonson”; it was donated by Dr Cyril Beresford (‘Jack’) Howse. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

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