George and Charles were the sons of Ellen and Charles Rolls of Graman NSW. George’s birth was registered at Inverell in 1875; Charles at Warialda in 1897.
George enlisted at Warwick Farm NSW in August 1915, when he was forty years old. At this time he was a cab driver at Inverell. He was one of three men given a public farewell and presented with the Inverell medal and socks before his departure for overseas service. He joined the 2nd Battalion, 11th Reinforcement and left Australia on the ship HMAT A14 Euripides in November 1915. After arriving in Egypt he was transferred to the 53rd Battalion and sent to France in March 1916.
On 19 July he was listed as missing and then reported as being a Prisoner of War in Germany. George was repatriated to England in November 1918 and returned to Australia the following year. George died whilst on a visit to Inverell in 1953.
Charles was a twenty nine year old Labourer at Inverell when he enlisted in July 1916. He joined the 33rd Battalion, 5th Reinforcement and sailed from Australia on the SS Port Napier in November. After arriving in England in January further training was undertaken before he was sent to France in April. His Battalion took part in the Battle of Messines in June. Two months later he was promoted to Lance Corporal. After the Battle of Passchendate in October he became a Corporal and finally Lance Sergeant.
Charles was gassed in April 1918 near Villers-Bretonneux and then wounded in August near Aroche Wood. He died of his wounds on 8 August 1918 and was buried at Vignacourt British Cemetery, France. His personal effects were returned to his sister Ellen, and included a pipe, whistle, Rosary, fountain pen, cigarette case, scissors and razor.
The names of George and Charles are recorded on both the Graman and Inverell Honor Rolls. Charles has his name inscribed on the Inverell Cenotaph and in 1919 he was one of the men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade.
Image: George Rolls (left) courtesy AWM #PO3236.207