Charles was a thirty-four-year-old Labourer when he enlisted in Brisbane in March 1915. His enlistment papers record his birthplace as Bukkulla Station; his address as Nullamanna and next of kin, his brother Jack.

Charles became a member of the 25th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement, and sailed from Australia for Egypt on HMAT A26 Armadale in September 1915. Four months later he was transferred to the Camel Corps serving at Abbassia and Sallum. Due to health issues he was in and out of hospital during 1916. In April 1917 he was wounded in action at Gaza and transferred to 14th Australian General Hospital with a gunshot wound to his thigh. The was returned to Australia by hospital ship Neuralia to Durban, then transferred to the hospital ship Karoola, arriving home in August. He was medically discharged and granted a pension of three pounds per fortnight.