Profile

ELSOM, Charles Henry
(Service number 4/73a)

Aliases Charlie
First Rank Sergeant Last Rank

Birth

Date 12 September 1893 Place of Birth Temuka

Enlistment Information

Date 28 September 1914 Age
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Butcher
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin Mrs Rose ELSOM (mother), Winchester, South Canterbury
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information Height 5 feet 7¾ inches. Weight 162 lbs.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship New Zealand Engineers, 1 Field Company
Date
Transport
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Egypt; Western Front; Gallipoli
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards Military Medal

Award Circumstances and Date

London Gazette, 17 December 1917, p13201: “On October 4th 1917 near Schuler Farm N.E of Ypres, he carried out road formation under heavy shell fir. He showed conspicuous ability in carrying out the work and displayed great coolness, determination and bravery and set a splendid example to all. His coolness and bravery at all times has been most marked.“

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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Death

Date 1979 Age
Place of Death Christchurch
Cause
Notices
Memorial or Cemetery Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Charles Henry Elsom was the son of George and Caroline Rose (Rose, née Boston) Elsom. He enlisted with the New Zealand forces on 28 September 1914 in England. (More info in Cenotaph Database record)

Charlie's Military Medal was published in the London Gazette on 17 December 1917, p13201, and recounts: “On October 4th 1917 near Schuler Farm N.E of Ypres, he carried out road formation under heavy shell fir. He showed conspicuous ability in carrying out the work and displayed great coolness, determination and bravery and set a splendid example to all. His coolness and bravery at all times has been most marked. “

The Official History of the the NZ Engineers it provides more details (p.151):

“Since dawn on the 4th the 1st Field Company, along with the Pioneers, had been concentrated on the work of repairing the one main road, and by 8 p.m. some field guns were already on the way to more forward positions. Next day more still were brought up, but with the rain came inevitable delay and almost a stoppage of movement. Several guns were hauled through somehow by main strength and determination, but the road soon became impassable, and the road workers were fully employed in pulling out bogged guns and helping them to the nearest few feet of comparatively firm ground on either side of the slushy canal that marked the line of the former roadway.

Lieutenant G. V. Russell of the 1st Field Company was awarded the Military Cross for good work and gallant conduct on this occasion. No less admirable in their own spheres of action were the achievements of Sergeants B. V. Cooksley and C. H. Elsom, Lance-Corporal J. R. Gilbert, and Sapper A. T. Brokenshire of the same Company, each of whom received an immediate reward of the Military Medal.”

Known as Uncle Charlie to his family, he married Olive Spence in 1924. Olive became a well-regarded artist. Charlie died in Christchurch in 1979 and is buried in the Bromley Cemetery with his mother, Rose Elsom, and his wife. His father, George, is buried in the Temuka Cemetery.

Sources

Auckland War Memorial Museum cenotaph Database [09 September 2016]; New Zealand Herald, 7 November 1914 (Papers Past) [September 2016]; SCRoll web submission by G Shannahan, 27 December 2017; MacDonald, Wayne "Honours and Awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War 1914-1918", 3rd ed. (Richard Stowers, 2013);Shera, Lt Col LM, et al. "Official History of the New Zealand Engineers During the Great War 1914-1919" (Evans, Cobb & Sharpe, Ltd, 1927)

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Tony Ripin, South Canterbury Museum

Currently Assigned to

DH

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