WOODS, Charles Albert

Charles was the third son and fifth of nine children born to Alfred and Emma Woods. His birth was registered at Nowra in 1895. At the outbreak of War the family were living at Glen Elgin, Inverell where Charles was a Dairy Farmer. With his Father’s consent to serve overseas, Charles enlisted at Inverell in August 1915. He became a member of the 30th Battalion which sailed from Australia on HMAT A70 Ballarat in February 1916.  After the Battalion disembarked in Egypt the men travelled by train to camp at Zuitoun near Cairo where they remained for a few weeks before being sent to France in June. 

The Inverell Times 19 September 1916 published a letter from Charles to his family in which he wrote:- ‘We are now in the trenches. Whilst writing this shells are whistling over our heads … We are all provided with steel helmets to lessen the danger of being hit in the head with shrapnel and also gas helmets. I have never seen such an expanse of beautiful country before.  The fields were covered with wheat and other cereals and mixed with them were thousands of brilliant scarlet poppies … The trenches are overrun with rats… we all sleep in dugouts …’

Just a month after arriving in France, Charles was killed in action on 20 July 1916 during the Battle of Fromelles.  Although his mate Private John Frisby wrote to the Woods family saying Charles was buried in the British Cemetery with a cross bearing his name and Battalion, the official records state he has no known grave.  His name is recorded on the Australian Cemetery Memorial at Fromelles, France. His few personal effects were returned to his parents in 1917.

At Inverell the name of Private Charles Woods is recorded on the town’s Honor Roll and Cenotaph as well as on the beautiful Oakwood Honor Roll now at Inverell Pioneer Village.  In 1919 a memorial tree was planted for him in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell.