(Service number 21897)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 20 May 1892 Place of Birth Kerrytown, near Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 3 May 1916 Age 23 years 11 months
Address at Enlistment St Andrews via Timaru
Occupation Farm hand
Previous Military Experience 2nd South Canterbury Regiment.
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Ellen SCANNELL (mother), Lyalldale, Saint Andrews, South Canterbury
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 6½ inches. Weight 142 lbs. Chest 33-35½ inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Sight and hearing good. Colour vision correct. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 7th Reinforcements 3rd Battalion, G Company
Date 21 August 1916
Transport Mokoia
Embarked From Wellington Destination Plymouth, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Service Medals British War 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


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

12 October 1916 - broke thigh on Mokoia; 15 October 1916 - admitted to military hospital at Dakar, suffering from fractured thigh. 16 December 1916 - at Dakar it was reported that the patient was still in hospital, that his condition was unsatisfactory, and it was feared that a long time must elapse (probably some months) before he would be able to bend the limb or use it freely to support himself.

Post-war Occupations


Date 28 May 1917 Age 25 years
Place of Death Drill Hall Section No 3 General Hospital Durban
Cause Illness - acute nephritis (uraemia), contracted whilst on active service
Notices New Zealand Tablet, 14 June 1917
Memorial or Cemetery Durban (Ordnance Road) Military Cemetery, Kwazulu, Natal, South Africa. Memorial Stone Timaru Cemetery (parents' plot)
Memorial Reference Block A, Grave 49. General Section, Row 89, Plot 499
New Zealand Memorials Timaru Memorial Wall; Basilica of the Sacred Heart; St Andrews War Memorial; Lyalldale War Memorial; (?Cave War Memorial)

Biographical Notes

Charles Scannell, known to family as Charlie, was born on 20 May 1892 at Kerrytown near Timaru, the seventh son of Daniel and Ellen (née Foley) Scannell, of Lyalldale, St Andrews, South Canterbury. He was baptised on 5 June 1892 in the Temuka Roman Catholic parish. Charles was educated at the Kerrytown Convent School, in which vicinity the family lived before moving to the St Andrews district in the early 1900s. Prior to enlistment, Charles was working as a farm hand at Lyalldale and Waimate.

Charles Scannell contributed to the war effort right from the outset – in September 1914 he gave 10 shillings to the Home Relief Fund for the Poor of Great Britain, Ireland, and Belgium. He was joined by his father, mother and brother Joseph. And in July 1915 Charles, his father Dan and his brother Joe all contributed to the Lyalldale Red Cross Fund. Charles was one of the successful candidates in the examination in first aid to the injured at Lyalldale in February 1916.

Charles and his brother Michael both enlisted with the Sixteenth Reinforcements on 3 May 1916. Charles was a farm hand at St Andrews, was in good physical condition and already belonged to the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment. He named his mother, Mrs Ellen Scannell, as his next-of-kin. A social to bid farewell to Privates M. and C. Scannell and three other locals was held in the Lyalldale School on 20 July 1916. Admission: Ladies a Basket, Gents 2s. On 21 August 1916 he embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade per the “Mokoia”, destined for Plymouth, England. It was on this journey that his troubles began when, on 12 October 1916, he broke his thigh. He was taking off a boot whilst attending parade and he fell into the hold, feet foremost (the cover was not in place). Mr and Mrs Scannell received word of his injury and admission to hospital on 19 October. The Court found that Scannell's injury was the result of a common accident whilst on duty and was satisfied that there was no sky larking. A few days later Rifleman C. Scannell was admitted to the military hospital at Dakar, seriously ill and suffering from his fractured thigh. On 16 December 1916 at Dakar it was reported that the patient was still in hospital, that his condition was unsatisfactory, and it was feared that a long time must elapse (probably some months) before he would be able to bend the limb or use it freely to support himself. A response was awaited from New Zealand Headquarters as to whether he should be sent to the United Kingdom.

Charles Scannell was, however, being invalided home when he died at a Port of call - Durban, South Africa, having contracted illness. His was one of four deaths from sickness recorded on casualty list 585 issued in May 1917. He died on 28 May 1917 at the Drill Hall Section No. 3 of the General Hospital at Durban, of acute nephritis (uraemia) contracted whilst on active service, aged 25 years. “He died for his country.” Charles was a staunch Catholic and a very popular young man. A large circle of friends conveyed their sympathy to his grieving family. Charles was buried in the Durban (Ordnance Road) Military Cemetery, Kwazulu, Natal, South Africa. His older brother Michael was killed in action on 7 June – just eleven days after Charlie's death. The names of Charles and Michael James are inscribed on their parents’ memorial stone in the Timaru Cemetery. “Dear Charlie, how we miss you in your grave so far away” was the poignant message in an In Memoriam notice in the Timaru Herald of 28 May 1918. For some years after, his parents, brothers and sisters faithfully inserted an In Memoriam notice in the New Zealand Tablet.

A photo of Michael and Charles in uniform was printed in the Star of 19 July 1917, both showing expressions of apprehension. His British War Medal was despatched to his father, and the plaque and scroll to his mother in 1924. With his serious injury on transport to the war arena and his fatal illness, Charles saw no action. Three of their brothers - Francis, Jeremiah (Jerry; fit only for Home Service)) and Joseph (Joe) - were called up for service in the war. Two nephews of Charles served in World War Two - Patrick Louis Scannell who was killed in action in 1944 in Italy and Pte John Joseph Scannell who died in 1943 and is buried in Timaru. The name of Rifleman Charles Scannell is recorded on the Lyalldale War Memorial, the Timaru Sacred Heart Basilica Memorial, the St Andrews War Memorial and the Timaru Memorial Wall.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [21 July 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives ref. AABK 18805 W5550 0102145) [23 April 2014]; CWGC [21 August 2013]; Timaru Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [21 August 2013]; NZ BDM Indexes (Dpartment of Internal Affairs) [21 August 2013]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [2013; 16 August 2017]; Timaru Herald, 29 September 1914, 8 July 1915, 17 February 1916, 8 July 1916, 20 October 1916, 31 May 1917, 1 June 1917, 31 July 1917, 28 May 1918, Sun, 25 October 1916, New Zealand Herald, 1 June 1917, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 1 June 2017, Otago Witness, 13 June 1917, New Zealand Tablet, 14 June 1917 [x 2], 29 May 1919, 27 May 1920, 25 May 1921, Star, 19 July 1917 (Papers Past) [21 August 2013, 17 September 2013; 19 August 2016; 16 August 2017]; Baptism index (Catholic Diocese CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [16 August 2017]

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.

Tell us more

Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!

Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).
Your Details
Veteran Details
- you may attach an image or document up to 10MB