• Charles Cable

Army / Flying Corps
  • 25th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Private

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  • Victory Medal
  • Birth

    Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Pte Charles Cable
    • Posted by CareGoondiwindi4390, Wednesday, 22 April 2015

    CHARLES WILLIAM CABLE (1859-1916) THE FIFTH GENERATION Charles William Cable, only son of William Cable and Bethea Gray, was born in January 1895 at Mitiamo, Victoria (Vic Reg 14480). His early childhood was spent on the family property until, around 1907; a move was made to a newly opened selection of land some 75km north of Goondiwindi, Queensland that his parents named “Bangalow”. At the time this area was considered a remote part of the country with the only transport available being a horse and sulky. It was not until the 1950’s that the area really opened up through improvements to roads and transport. No doubt Charles and his older sister Mary Bethea were totally involved in helping their father William in clearing and establishing the property and building their house. They also had to contend with an invasion of “prickly pear” that was rapidly spreading across the State and Charles was probably his father’s ‘right hand man’ in helping construct a roller to break down the weed. This roller was a gum tree log with a crossbar to bend and snap saplings as they went under the roller. It destroyed small trees and everything else in its path. Once the cuttings were dry the whole mass could easily be burnt. In 1914 WW1 began. The following year, on 20 September, 1915, Charles enlisted in the Australian Army for overseas service. Part of his medical record provides details of a fit and able man ready for service. On enlistment Charles became part of the 10th Reinforcements, 25th Battalion and spent a short time at the Exhibition Grounds in Brisbane where a camp had been set up and training had begun. He was now learning to fire a rifle or more likely, coming from the bush, perfecting his skills with a rifle. In a letter written on 11th October, he told his parents that there were a lot of Goondiwindi boys in the camp with him. He thought he might be able to get six days leave – not long enough to make the return journey right out to the property so they would have to all meet in Goondiwindi if they were to have some time together. Before long he moved to the Vidgen Paddock camp at Enoggera, a northern suburb of Brisbane where the men were readied for departure to Egypt. In letters home he described some of the training he undertook which included rifle shooting and he mentioned that he was inoculated numerous times, all of which had not ‘taken’. Presumably, the inoculation was for Smallpox. By the time he wrote the letter, the men were on standby, ready to board the troop ship Commonwealth bound for Egypt. Charles arrived at Suez Canal, Egypt, on 5th May, 1916 and wrote to his sister Mary Bethea shortly after: NOTE: Bob Steel and Bob Smith were his first cousins – Bob Steel the son of this father’s sister Annie Trihy Cable (Steel) Bob Smith the son of his father’s sister Margaret Cable (Smith). The Charlie Wood referred to was also his first cousin, son of his father’s sister Betsy Cable (Wood)) When Charles arrived in Egypt he was admitted to hospital with mumps and, on discharge from hospital a few days later, sent to the base at Tel el Kebir. Tel el Kebir was in Egypt, some 110km north-north-east of Cairo. A letter was immediately sent to his parents to notify them when he had been admitted to hospital. Charles was sent to Egypt because his battalion had earlier been transferred to Tel el Kebit, after the initial ANZAC assault at Gallipoli. Although there was a military hospital and base at Mudros (on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea near Gallipoli) the climate was not considered a suitable place to make camp to refit, rest and reorganize the troops. Equipment and reinforcements (soon to include Charles) were already waiting and regularly arriving in Egypt to replace some of the 14,000 men that the unit was down so a camp was established at Tel el Kebir. From Tel el Kebir, Charles went to the major seaport of Alexandria from where the unit boarded the Tunisian for the five-day trip to Marseilles, France, disembarking on 5th June. In Official Hisotry of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, author Charles Bean describes conditions at sea during these voyages: On arrival at Marseilles the troops were made ready to move overland. Charles Bean continues: Much like the current fascination the younger generation have for I-pads and I-pods, the invention of the Kodak camera around that time was a ‘have-to-have’ item to be taken to war. Kodak mass produced vest pocket cameras that were marketed with slogans such as ‘You can load it much as you load a rifle’. However, they were soon banned because they “….endangered security and they diverted fighting men from their tasks. The surviving record of soldier photographs suggests many soldiers ignore the ban and kept ‘snapping’. Soldiers took photographs contrary to orders; they smuggled out rolls of film and they got new film by equally tricky means. Photography was another defiant ‘lark’. It was also part of the soldiers’ tourist expectations – the quid pro quo for risking life and limb on the battlefield. And it was a vital link with home….” (Wartime Issue 27 – Soldier snaps on the Western Front – Australian War Memorial) Soon after arriving in France, Charles wrote a postcard to his aunt Betsy Wood (nee Cable – his father William’s sister) which is still held by Betsy’s grandson, Fraie Stewart. The writing is faded and difficult to read but is interpreted as: On 14th November, 1916, Charles received a gun shot wound to his right side. The exact location where he received the wound is not know but he was immediately admitted and transferred to the Casualty Clearing Station and then, by what must surely have been a tortuous ambulance train journey, to the 12th General Hospital in Rouen. He died there on 1st December, 1916 and was buried at St Sever Cemetary Extension in Rouen, France. Written by Terry Mann The 5th Generation - Charles William Cable (1895-1916)