Courtesy of Pakenham Upper Community Church Hall

Lieutenant Charles Wigmore Calcutt

Pakenham Upper State School Honour Book

Born: 3 December 1879  - Williamstown, Victoria

Enlisted: 16 November 1916 aged 35

Unit: South African Overseas Expeditionary Force

Served: Western Front

Died: 1949 -  Transvaal, South Africa 

 

Charles was an older brother of Gerald Calcutt, and one of four Calcutt brothers to serve during WWI.. He was born at Williamstown in 1879. After the family moved to Pakenham Upper (then known as Gembrook South), Charles attended the State School there for a year in 1895. Following school, Charles was engaged in clerical work. He served in the Boer War (2nd Imperial Light Horse) and afterwards remained in South Africa, where he was employed by the South African Railways (1). 

 

Charles enlisted for service with the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force on 16 November 1916. This was a few months after the South Africans lost 2,000 soldiers at Delville’s Wood on the Somme. According to the Pakenham Upper State School Honour Book, Charles sailed for active service on the RMS Durham Castle on 21 November 1916 as a sergeant. During Charles’ period of service, the South Africans fought at places such as Ypres, Menin Road, Messines, Kemmel and Cambrai. In July 1917, Charles was promoted to company Sergeant Major and to Lieutenant in early 1918 (2). He was one of an estimated 50,000 “Other Anzacs” - Australians who served in the armed forces of Britain, other British Dominions or allied countries (2a)

Charles returned to South Africa on 7 August 1919 and was discharged the following month. He rejoined the South African Railways (3). Charles was married to Beatrice Eleanor Kerr (4). Tragically, Charles had two sons killed during WWII while they served with the British Royal Air Force in Europe: Frank was killed in action in December 1944 while serving with the 144th Squadron, while Richard died in England in January 1943 while serving with the Royal Air Force’s 44 Rhodesia Squadron (5). Charles died in South Africa in 1949 (6).

 

The assistance of Joy Carberry of the Pakenham Upper Community Church Hall is gratefully acknowledged. 

Sources:

(1) (2) & (3) Pakenham Upper State School Honour Roll

(2a) https://www.tracesmagazine.com.au/2014/09/the-other-anzacs-australian-soldiers-in-world-war-ones-allied-armies/  

(4) (5) & (6) Information sourced from Ancestry.com.au

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