Gunner Charles William Greenfield
Pakenham State School Roll of Honour
Born: 1897 - Box Hill, Victoria
Enlisted: 1 November 1916 aged 19
Unit: 36th Heavy Artillery Group, 10th Reinforcement (SERN: 859)
Served: Western Front
Died: 19 May 1932 - Geelong, Victoria
Charles was the son of Charles Henry Greenfield and his wife Kate Beck. His parents owned “Warrawee” in Pakenham North (Toomuc Valley) which included a small 9 to 10 acre orchard. The Greenfields were able to transform what had been a relatively unproductive orchard into one regarded as an exemplar in the industry. Despite its size, it produced around 6,000 cases of fruit per season (1). As a child, Charles attended Pakenham State School, where he obtained his merit certificate (2). He also attended the Sunday School at St James’ Church (3). In late 1912, part of Warrawee was sold to the Anderson brothers of “Caversham” for £1,000 (4). By WWI, the family was living at Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula. When he enlisted for the AIF on 1 November 1916, Charles was 19 years old and already serving as a soldier with the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery at Queenscliff, near Geelong. Reflecting his prior military experience, Charles was assigned to the 36th (Australian) Heavy Artillery Group, 54 and 55 Batteries. He embarked from Sydney on 10 February 1917. Following a further period training in England and some time on the “sick lists”, he was taken on strength with the 55th Battery on 21 September 1917 (5).
Less than a month later, on 18 October 1917, Charles was wounded in action, sustaining wounds to the neck and foot. He was invalided to England, where he remained in hospital until January 1918. He only returned to his unit on 21 July 1918. Following the end of the War, Charles’ unit spent a few more months in France before being marched out to England, and then returned to Australia. Charles was discharged in Melbourne on 4 August 1919 - exactly 5 years after war had been declared (6). In 1920, Charles received assistance under the Soldiers’ Settlement Scheme to purchase 57 acres of land from his father near Bittern on the Mornington Peninsula (7). He soon proved himself a “very industrious and satisfactory settler” with an “exceptionally well worked” orchard of apples and apricots (7a). In 1923, Charles married Jeanette Patching. Despite a promising future, misfortune struck when Charles developed tuberculosis of the spine. Unable to work his property, he relinquished it in 1926 (7b). From 1926 to 1928, Charles was listed on the electoral roll at the Caulfield Repatriation Hospital (8) and from 1931 as an “invalid returned soldier” living at Queenscliff where his wife Jeanette was a cafe proprietor (9). That year, Charles was involved in a serious road accident. hitting a teenage cyclist while driving home from a local football match. The cyclist was killed (10). Charles, who was probably still in poor health at the time of the accident, died on 19 May 1932 aged just 35.
(1) Australasian, 9/12/1911, p. 13 & 15/12/1913, p. 10
(2) Pakenham Gazette 19/12/1919 p. 3
(3) South Bourke & Mornington Journal 15/7/1908, p. 2
(4) Australasian 14/12/1912 p. 18
(5) & (6) NAA B2455 GREENFIELD C W
(7) PROV VPRS 5714/PO Unit 811 File 409/12
(7a) & (7b) VPRS 10381 P0 Unit 92 Item 1164
(8) Ancestry.com.au - Electoral Roll - Balaclava - Caulfield 1927 p. 52
(9) Ancestry.com.au - Eelectoral Roll - Corio - Queenscliff 1931 p. 3
(10) Weekly Times 18/3/1931, p. 7 & The Age 13/7/1931, p. 8.