GOSLING , Charles William 
(Service number (1) 7/50; (2) 7/2012)

Aliases Also known as William Charles GOSLING
First Rank Trooper Last Rank Private


Date 10 January 1874 Place of Birth Temuka

Enlistment Information

Date (1) 18 August 1914; (2) 13 October 1915 Age (1) 40 years 7 months; (2) 41 years 9 months
Address at Enlistment Levels, Timaru
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience 5th & 8th New Zealand Contingents, South Africa
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin C. GOSLING (father), Levels, Timaru
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information (1) Height 5 feet 7 inches. Weight 167 lbs. Chest measurement 36-41 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing good. Colour vision Normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. (2) Height 5 feet 7 inches. Weight 184 lbs. Chest measurement 38½ -41 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Colour vision correct. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. 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. Tattoo - black - left forearm anterior surface.

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 9th Reinforcements Canterbury Mounted Rifles, C Squadron
Date 14 January 1916
Transport Dalmore
Embarked From Wellington, NZ Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Western Europe (Somme)
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


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Advanced Dressing Station 5th London Field Ambulance

Post-war Occupations


Date 15 September 1916 Age 42 years
Place of Death Advanced Dressing Station 5th London Field Ambulance, Somme, France
Cause Died of wounds (gunshot wounds to legs)
Memorial or Cemetery Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France. Buried first at Thistle Dump Station Cemetery.
Memorial Reference Mem. 14.
New Zealand Memorials Memorial wall, Timaru; Claremont District War Memorial; Washdyke War Memorial

Biographical Notes

Charles William Gosling, born on 10 January 1874 at Temuka, was the son of Charles and Emma (née Forward) Gosling, of Levels, Timaru. His father had come to New Zealand as a six-year old in 1850 in the "Randolph", one of the first four ships bringing settlers to Canterbury. Young Charles had a twin sister, Mary Ida, and a brother, Henry Forward, who died at 5 days of age and at whose birth their mother died, Charles and Mary being just 19 months old. His father remarried and had three more children. Charles and his twin sister were baptised Roman Catholic (Charles William Joseph and Ida Mary Josephine respectively) on 22 March 1883 at Timaru, after their father’s second marriage.

Charles attended the Claremont School before transferring to Timaru, maybe to the Marist Brothers School. After schooling he worked at labouring and farming at Levels.

Also known as William Charles Gosling, he served first in the South African War (SA2594), as a Private with both the Fifth and the Eighth Contingents. At this time he was 27 years old, 5 feet 8½ inches tall and weighing 11 stone, and of Church of England affiliation. He was to be invalided home, as mentioned in a letter home written by Farrier D. McTaggart, also of the Fifth Contingent, from Basute Kopje in August 1900. Charles in fact left Capetown by the “Ranee” on 1 February 1901, discharged on completion of service and issued the clasp for “Rhodesia”, and transferred to the “Monowai” at New South Wales. He was assessed as in fair condition health-wise and granted two months leave. He queried the reduction in the full pay during sick leave which he had been promised.

By January 1902 Charles was filling one of 13 vacancies in the Eighth Contingent. He was taken ill at Beira at the beginning of June with malarial fever and was subsequently in and out of hospital for four months. This was compounded by six weeks in hospital at Johannesburg with enteric. In September 1902 he was still suffering from the effects of fever following three attacks of malaria and a chest infection, and was undergoing treatment, after being again invalided home. In addition he had developed a slight stammer.

Charles Gosling lost his South Africa Certificate of Discharge (and attached Gratuity payment) when fire destroyed the Trentham Hotel at which he was staying on his return, burning his certificate and some personal effects. On his return he received the Paardeberg clasp, and later the clasps for South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902, and the Imperial South Africa War Clasp for “Transvaal”.

Coincidentally, Ida Mary Gosling, the twin sister of Charles, married Harold George Pitt on 23 July 1903, at Capetown, South Africa. Australian-born Harold Pitt spent time managing his father’s farm in Canterbury, New Zealand, where he was rated one of the best cross-country riders in this country and won many steeple-chases over a 17-years period. At the outbreak of the South African War he was sent by the New Zealand Government as veterinary officer in charge of 300 horses and he subsequently saw further service there. In 1890 he was present at South Canterbury Jockey Club’s meetings, and again from 1896. And in 1896 he tendered his services as huntsman to the South Canterbury Hunt Club and resided at Timaru. Did Ida follow him to South Africa? Their four children were born there, and they paid visits to New Zealand, before they spent their latter years back in Tasmania.

Charles engaged in farming at the Levels, likely with his father. He was involved in cycling, competing in late September 1904 in a 16 mile road race from Temuka to Washdyke and back, with a handicap of 5 minutes 40 seconds (the same handicap as his half-brother, Alistair).

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, this courageous man again volunteered and left Timaru with the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles on 19 August 1914. Given a hearty send-off by the crowd and farewelled by the Mayor and Archdeacon, the men were cheered as the train steamed out of the station. Their horses were trucked at the show grounds and added to the train at Smithfield. It appears Charles was discharged from service, but re-enlisted again in October 1915, and was assigned a new servie number. At the time of re-enlisting Charles was a labourer for the Post and Telegraph Department. On both occasions he had passed the medical examination without any problems. The second occasion saw his departure on 14 January 1916 on the “Dalmore”, destined for Suez.

In May 1916, after having gone to France, he was appointed Lance Corporal but relinquished that rank soon after and reverted to Private. The next advice was that he had died of wounds on 15 September 1916. Chaplain Malden, in a letter to Charles’s father expressed his deepest sympathy and that of the officers and men of the deceased’s unit. He stated that Private Gosling was “a gallant soldier”, who was killed by a shell in the early days of the Somme battle and buried at Thistle Dump Station Cemetery. Private Gosling actually died in the London Field Ambulance of the gunshot wounds he received to his legs while in action. He was permanently interred in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France.

Rifleman C. W. Gosling was described as a “well set up man of sterling character”.

His name is inscribed on the Timaru War Memorial Wall, the Claremont District War Memorial, where he attended school, and the Washdyke War Memorial, close to the Levels where he resided.

The Washdyke Memorial – a shaft of New Zealand granite with a spire 20 feet high – bears the following inscription: “In grateful memory of the Levels and Washdyke men who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918” followed by the names, among them C. W. Gosling. This memorial was unveiled by the Hon. James Craigie, M.L.C., on 10 June 1923. The Battalion Band was present and the hymn “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” was sung. The memorial was the local headstone to those men who had saved the country in a time of grave danger, said Archdeacon Jacob. “It spoke eloquently of sacrifice and service.” The Hon. Craigie said that his “sympathy went out to all relatives of men whose names were engraved upon the stone. We had sent over the seas 100,000 men, and had lost some 17,000.” Twenty-seven men had left the Washdyke and Levels district, and seven had made the supreme sacrifice. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the hymn “Nearer, My God to Thee” and the “Last Post” played by the bugler.

A half-brother of Charles William, Alistair Reginald Macdonald Gosling, was listed in the Reserves Roll and was called up, but did not serve. This brother received his medals, his father the plaque and scroll.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [07 November 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5539 0046181) [06 June 2014], NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5539 0046187) [03 February 2016], NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5515 0002136) [03 February 2016]; CWGC [07 November 2013]; Timaru Herald, 3 & 23 October 1900, 20 December 1900, 8 February 1901, 26 June 1902, 27 July 1903, 27 September 1904, 20 August 1914, 02 October 1916 [x 2], 18 December 1916, 05 July 1920, Press, 24 August 1900, 15 March 1901, 24 August 1914, 11 June 1923, Star, 3 October 1900, Otago Witness, 20 March 1901, Evening Post, 7 January 1902 (Papers Past) {10 November 2013; 09 July 2015; 23 August 2015; 31 January 2016; 01 February 2016; 01 May 2016]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [2013]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( 23 August 2015]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2013]; Baptism record (Roman Catholic Diocese of Christchurch Baptisms Index CD, held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2016]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSC

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