Profile

HORGAN, Charles
(Service number 44973)

Aliases Charles Michael - birth & death name
First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman

Birth

Date 23 May 1896 Place of Birth Waikari

Enlistment Information

Date 29 November 1916 Age 20 years
Address at Enlistment C/o Commercial Hotel, Ashburton
Occupation Draper
Previous Military Experience 1st Canterbury Regiment
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs B. HORGAN (mother), 6 William Street, Christchurch. Later of 10 Middle Street, Timaru
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 5 inches. Weight 126 lbs. Chest measurement 34½-36½ inches. Complexion dark. Eyes dark. Eyes blue. Hair black. Sight - right eye 24, left eye 36. Hearing and colour vision both good. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. Slight defect but not sufficient to cause rejection - sight is not good (due to myopia). No fits.

Military Service

Served with New Zealand Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Reinforcements G Company (part)
Date 5 April 1917
Transport Devon
Embarked From Wellington, N.Z. Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date

Discharge

Date 18 April 1919 Reason Termination of period of engagement. (Gunshot wounds to right forearm front and left thigh back).

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

20 February 1918 - day in hospital, sick; 18 May 2018 - admitted to Field Ambulance, sick; 8 October 1918 - wounded in action - gunshot wounds to right forearm and left thigh - admitted to Casualty Clearing Station; 10 October admitted to hospital; 15 October to hospital in England.

Post-war Occupations

Farmer; miner; cellarman, barman; metal worker; civil servant

Death

Date 14 April 1960 Age 63 years
Place of Death Auckland
Cause
Notices
Memorial or Cemetery Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland
Memorial Reference Soldiers Block J, Row 4, Plot 55
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Charles Michael Horgan was born on 23 May 1896 at Waikari, North Canterbury, the youngest son of Daniel and Bridget (née Kelly) Horgan, there being four sons and three daughters in the family. He was baptised Catholic on 19 July 1896 in the Hawarden parish. Daniel and Bridget had both come out from Ireland. His father, who was the pound-keeper at Waikari during the 1890s, on one occasion asked the Waipara Road board for assistance towards buying a horse to enable him to carry out his duties, “his own being now past use”. Daniel Horgan, who died on 11 August 1898 at the Christchurch Hospital, was buried in the Linwood Cemetery, after a service at the Pro-Cathedral in Barbadoes Street. About 1905 Mrs Bridget Horgan moved into Christchurch. Charles started his education at the Waikari school, transferring from there to the Marist Brothers’ School in Christchurch. At Marist in 1907 Charles was placed second in Standard IV geography. At the prize-giving the chairman urged the pupils to continue to develop their mental and physical powers to prepare them for the fight in life. Neither he nor they have anticipated the significance of the fight in life a decade later. The following year Charles achieved second place in Standard V grammar. On this occasion the Brother Director stressed the necessity to pursue their studies with continued efforts so that when school life was over they might be an honour to their parents, their church and their country. In 1914 Mrs Horgan was letting out rooms at her William Street address, and in 1917 the cottage at William Street.

Charles, a drapers’ assistant residing at the Commercial Hotel, Ashburton, enlisted on 29 November 1916 at the Timaru Defence Office. He had registered for compulsory military training, was already listed on the Reserve Roll, and was serving with the First Canterbury Regiment. Aged just 20 years, he was single and Roman Catholic. He was of slight build, standing 5 feet 5 inches and weighing 126 pounds. His complexion was dark, his eyes blue and his hair black. While his hearing and colour vision were both good, his sight was not, because of myopia. This defect was, however, not sufficient to cause rejection. He was otherwise in good health, vaccinated, free from diseases and fits; and his limbs, heart and lungs were all good.

He named as his next-of-kin his mother - Mrs Horgan, 6 William Street, Christchurch, and later of 194 Fitzgerald Avenue and of 10 Middle Street, Timaru. Her son Thomas was with her at William Street in 1911 and her eldest daughter Mary in 1914. He joined the Timaru quota of the 25th Reinforcements, one of twenty-six men from the Ashburton district who had voluntarily enlisted. They were entertained at the Drill Hall and treated to an “excellent repast” on 10 January 1917 before boarding the train. The Rev. Aitken said that they were “going to attain greatness and take part in the greatest enterprise which the nation had ever had to face. . . . . the British nation had ideals higher than any other race, . . . . [they] were assisting to maintain those high ideals and traditions.” The Mayor noted that “[they] were going to fight for King and country and to uphold the name the Anzacs had made.” After the singing of the National Anthem, the men were escorted to the station by the Eighth (South Canterbury) Regimental Band and loud cheering. It was 5 April before Charles embarked on the “Devon” at Wellington, headed for Devonport, England.

On 20 November 1917 he proceeded overseas from Sling and joined his battalion at Rouen. On 20 February 1918 he spent a day in hospital, sick; and on 18 May 2018 he was admitted to the Field Ambulance, again sick, rejoining his unit two days later. The casualty list of mid October 1918 reported that C. Horgan, 44873, had been wounded, and the hospital report listed him as not a severe case. He was in fact wounded in action on 8 October and admitted to the Casualty Clearing Station. He suffered gunshot wounds to his right forearm (front) and left thigh (back). He was admitted to hospital on 10 October and sent to hospital in London on 15 October. On 29 November he was transferred to Hornchurch. This didn’t stop him from being absent without leave - a repeat of an offence while at Featherston in March 1917 - for which he forfeited six days pay. On 23 December he was discharged on leave to Codford, where he had had physical drill. On 9 January 1991 the Medical Board described the patient’s condition thus: “Wound on arm flesh wound slight pain No disability Wound on outer aspect thigh superficial No disability”. Disability was assessed at less than 2% and would last for only one month. Rifleman C. Horgan was recommended for demobilisation. On 3 February 1919 he embarked at Liverpool to come home.

Rifleman C. Horgan returned from the front to New Zealand in March 1919 per the “Athenic”, one of 750 of all ranks in Draft No. 22. Charles and fellow South Canterbury men and one nurse came by a special train from Christchurch arriving at Timaru on 21 March. The Mayor assured the men that their gallant services were appreciated, and said that all were proud of the reputation of the New Zealand troops both on the field and off it. They had been brave and splendid soldiers. After cheers were called – “such as they deserved”, the men were ferried to their homes, while Charles Horgan and three comrades left by the Fairlie train. There his mother had been living with her son William. All his service had been in Western Europe, for which he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was discharged on 18 April 1919, the termination of his term of engagement, although the gunshot wounds to his right forearm and thigh were noted. Following the war Charles entered into farming at Cricklewood. In mid 1920 in the ballot for soldier farm settlements, from 76 applicants, he acquired 252 acres at Bankfield, St Andrews. But misfortune befell Charles and his mother at Bankfield in April 1928. While they were out visiting friends in the evening, the homestead was burnt to the ground. On arriving home Mr Horgan found the kitchen full of smoke, the fire having originated in a defective kitchen chimney. The whole building was quickly demolished, and nothing was saved. He did have insurance on the house and the furniture.

Following the house fire at St Andrews Charles pursued various occupations in various locations – miner at Blackwater, cellarman in Christchurch, barman in Wellington, and a metal worker in Auckland until his retirement. He married Mabel Elizabeth Grenfell (formerly McKenzie) in 1944. Charles Michael Horgan died on 14 April 1960 in Auckland, aged 63 years, his wife being the informant. The burial record lists his occupation as civil servant. He is buried in a Soldiers plot in the Waikumete Cemetery. Mabel died in 1976.

By 1917 Mrs Horgan had moved to Cricklewood. There Charles and his brother William continued to farm after their return from the war. About 1919 she moved into Timaru where her daughters Mary and Kathleen resided with her before their marriages in 1924 and 1922 respectively. Kathleen married a returned serviceman at St Andrews Catholic Church. In 1928 Mrs Horgan was residing with Charles at St Andrews before returning to Christchurch to live with her daughter Mary. Mrs Horgan died on 27 November 1940 and is buried at Timaru. Charles Horgan’s brother John, who had enlisted at the beginning of 1916, was killed in action in France on 3 December 1917. His brother William also served in the war, embarking in 1914 and being invalided home in 1916. His eldest brother, Thomas Daniel Horgan, was listed in the 1916-1917 Reserve Rolls, when he was already resident at the Sanatorium, a victim of consumption. As early as 1914 he was at the Cashmere Sanatorium. He died on 19 November 1918, at the Cashmere Sanatorium and is buried in Linwood Cemetery.

Sources

Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [25 October 2013]; NZ Defence Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5541 0056645) [24 June 2014]; Waikumete Cemetery headstone transcription (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Cemetery Records microfiche) [08 April 2014]; Waikumete Cemetery burial record (Auckland Council) [03 November 2014]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs); Press, 14 January 1891, 3 & 17 May 1898, 11 January 1917, 25 October 1918, 8 March 1919, Lyttelton Times, 7 January 1892, 17 August 1898, 19 December 1907, 16 December 1908, Timaru Herald, 5 December 1916, 10 January 1917, 19 December 1917, 25 October 1918, 10 & 22 March 1919, 2 June 1920, Ashburton Guardian, 11 January 1917, Evening Post, 22 October 1918, Sun, 24 & 25 October 1918, 8 March 1919, Star, 11 November 1918, Dominion, 8 March 1919, Otago Daily Times, 2 June 1920, 20 April 1928 (Papers Past) [24 October 2013; 02 & 05 April 2015; 28 September 2015; 11, 13 & 15 March 2019]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [08 April 2014]; School Admission Record (Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2014]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [08 April 2014; 12 March 2019]; Linwood Cemetery records (Christchurch City Council); Timaru Herald, 29 November 1940 (Timaru District Library) [07 April 2015]; marriage record for Kathleen Horgan sighted at Holy Family Parish, Timaru [15 March 2019; Christchurch Catholic Diocese Baptisms Index (CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [17 March 2019]; NZ Matching Brides & Grooms (NZSG CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [17 March 2019]; Christchurch Catholic Diocese Baptisms Index (CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [17 March 2019]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

TS

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