WILKIE , Charles Frederick
(Service number 8/2181)
|First Rank||Quartermaster Sergeant||Last Rank||Second Lieutenant|
|Date||27 July 1892||Place of Birth||Allanton|
|Date||12 January 1915||Age||22 years|
|Address at Enlistment||67 Heriot Row, Dunedin|
|Previous Military Experience||Railway Engineers - still serving at time of enlistment|
|Next of Kin||Mrs J. H. WILKIE (mother), Rhodes Street, Waimate (45 Leonard Street, Waimate)|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 7½ inches. Weight 132 lbs. Chest measurement 30-32½ inches. Complexion sallow. Eyes blue. Hair brown. Sight, hearing and colour vision all good. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth all artificial. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Had short attack of gastritis 4 years ago. No other illnesses. No fits.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||5th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Otago Infantry Battalion|
|Date||13 June 1915|
|Transport||Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Otago Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, D Company|
|Campaigns||Balkans (Gallipoli); Western Front|
|Service Medals||1915-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
|Military Awards||Mentioned in Despatches (MiD)|
Award Circumstances and Date
Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) by Field Marshall Sir D Haig for distinguished and gallant service and devotion to duty, 21 December 1917. - London Gazette, 28 December 1917, p13575, Rec. No. 1177: Operations Messines - 7th June 1917. For gallantry and devotion to duty. Preparatory to the above operations, 2/Lieut Wilkie went out on seven successive nights into “No Man’s Land” and carried out the most valuable reconnaissances of the Steenebeek and of the ground in front of the enemy’s front line between Wulverghern and Messines. He and his party were repeatedly under heavy shellfire, but in spite of these conditions he carried out his task successfully and brought back most valuable information. The result of his investigations greatly facilitated the advance of the Division. He was mortally wounded in the attack on Messines on the 7th June 1917.
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
8 September 1915 - disembarked at Malta & admitted to St John's Hospital, slightly sick with gastritis. 25 October 1915 - embarked for England & 1 November 1915 admitted to 2nd War Hospital Northfield, Birmingham, with gastritis. Left London to rejoin Unit 1 March 1916. 7 June 1917 - admitted to Field Ambulance, then to 33rd Casualty Clearing Station.
|Date||7 June 1917||Age||24 years|
|Place of Death||33rd Casualty Clearing Station, in the field, Messines, France|
|Cause||Died of wounds|
|Notices||Otago Daily Times, 16 June 1917|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France|
|Memorial Reference||III. C. 276.|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Charles Frederick Wilkie, the younger surviving son of William Dick and Jane Henrietta (née Read) Wilkie, of Manse Street, Waimate, South Canterbury, was born on 27 September 1892 at Allanton, Otago. After his education at Allanton (Otago) and Mosgiel schools, he joined the New Zealand Railways as a clerk in Dunedin.
Charles was already serving with the Railway Engineers, of which he was an enthusiastic member. Of fairly slight build, sallow complexion, blue eyes and brown hair, he was found medically fit to serve. He was a non-commissioned officer among 172 men who were enthusiastically farewelled in Dunedin. A very carefully planned reception would provide them with pleasant recollections. Drawn up in ranks inside the Garrison Hall, they attended to instructions with a business-like seriousness. The Mayor expressed the appreciation of the citizens for the effort the men were making on behalf of the Empire and wished them God-speed. Bishop Nevill wanted them to remember that it was God’s battle they were fighting – “for justice and right and truth and honour and virtue”. “You have heard the bugle call and you have answered it, and we are all proud of you,” Colonel E. R. Smith said to applause, before he expressed even more pride in the mothers and added that the day they would be welcomed home was awaited with still greater pleasure – a day which Charles and countless others would not see. Headed by the Dunedin Pipe Band, the men set off along the street lined with relatives and friends for the station where they joined the men from Invercargill and Milton for Trentham.
Having enlisted early in the war, on 12 January 1915, Charles embarked on 13 June with the Otago Infantry Battalion, destined for Suez, Egypt. At Trentham he was attached to D Company, 4th Reinforcements.
In August 1915 at the Dardanelles C. F. Wilkie was promoted to Corporal. Soon after, on 8 September 1915, he disembarked at Malta from Gallipoli and was admitted to St John's Hospital, slightly sick with gastritis. Having embarked on 25 October 1915 for England, on 1 November 1915 he was admitted to 2nd War Hospital Northfield, Birmingham, still suffering with gastritis. Charles left London to rejoin his unit on 1 March 1916, embarking at Alexandria for France per ‘Llandovery Castle’.
A return to England in September enabled him to join the Officer Cadet Battalion and complete a course of training, resulting in recommendation for a commission and promotion. Posted to the Otago Regiment, he proceeded overseas to France to join his battalion. A notice in the London Gazette of 15th March 1917, announced that 8/2181 Corporal C. E. Wilkie was to be promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.
On 7 June 1917 he was admitted to the Field Ambulance, then to the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station. Twenty-four-year old Second Lieutenant Charles Frederick Wilkie, 8/2181, died on 7 June 1917 at Messines, in the Flanders area of Belgium, of wounds received in action. These were gunshot wounds to the lower jaw and he died while being treated in the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station in the field. He had seen service at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. Although the Battle of Messines was a striking success, the New Zealanders paid a heavy price for success, not least the family of Charles Fredrick Wilkie. His sister, Nurse Marie H. Wilkie, had visited the family in Waimate not long before the news of the death of Charles was received and before returning herself to the war zone. Three other sisters were residing with their parents at Waimate and a fourth was an instructor at the Westport Technical School. As a token of respect flags were flown from the town hall in Mosgiel, where he had grown up and where the news of his death was received with much regret. “He nobly fighting fell” the family recorded.
The name of 2nd Lieutenant C. E.Wilkie was submitted in Sir Douglas Haig’s Despatch of 7th November 1917 (and published in the London Gazette of 28th December) as deserving of special mention. The Gazette carried the following citation – “Operations Messines - 7th June 1917. For gallantry and devotion to duty. Preparatory to the above operations, 2/Lieut Wilkie went out on seven successive nights into “No Man’s Land” and carried out the most valuable reconnaissances of the Steenebeek and of the ground in front of the enemy’s front line between Wulverghern and Messines. He and his party were repeatedly under heavy shellfire, but in spite of these conditions he carried out his task successfully and brought back most valuable information. The result of his investigations greatly facilitated the advance of the Division. He was mortally wounded in the attack on Messines on the 7th June 1917.”
His medals – 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal - were sent to his mother at Waimate. Charles left a brief pay book will, dated 5 June 1917 – “In the event of my death I leave all monies etc to my mother Mrs J. H. Wilkie Manse St Waimate, New Zealand.” Sister M. H. Wilkie, N.Z.A.N.S. N.Z. General Hospital Brockenhurst Hants, was also to be advised of any casualty. This was Marie Henrietta Wilkie, a sister of Charles, who also served in World War One.
Charles Frederick Wilkie was buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [21 September 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5557 0122287) [29 October 2014]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5568 0136742) [29 October 2014]; CWGC [21 September 2013]; School Admission Records (Dunedin Branch NZSG) ; Otago Daily Times, 12 January 1915, 16 November 1915, 2 March 1917, 15 & 16 June 1917, Otago Witness, 13 January 1915, 20 June 1917, Evening Post, 26 January 1915, 12 March 1917, 4 March 1918, Dominion, 24 September 1915, Evening Star, 24 September 1915, Manawatu Times, 16 November 1915, Press, 4 December 1916, Timaru Herald, 14 June 1917, Ashburton Guardian, 14 June 1917, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 14 June 1917, 9 April 1918, Colonist, 16 June 1917 (Papers Past) [24 March 2014; 13 December 2015; 15 April 2017]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [13 December 2015]
- Great War Stories - Second Lieutenant Charles Frederick Wilkie - Timaru Herald 6 May 2017 (pdf, 71.7 KB updated 15-Sep-2017)
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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