Charles Walter Christiansen

First Name: 
Charles
Middle Name: 
Walter
Last Name: 
Christiansen
Alternate Spelling: 
Christianson
Mother's Name: 
Mary Ann Christiansen
Father's Name: 
Charles Martin Christiansen
Date Enlisted: 
Saturday, October 16, 1915
Rank at Enlistment: 
Private
Unit: 
18th Battalion
Company: 
10th Reinforcements
Service: 
Infantry
Awards: 
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Date of Death: 
Monday, April 15, 1918
Place of Death: 
Hangard Wood, France
Cause of Death: 
Killed in action
Details: 

Charles Walter Christiansen was born c.1894 to Charles Martin and Mary Ann Christiansen. His life prior to the war saw him attending Ex Convent School Bulli and Night School at Woonona Public. Charles was employed as a surveyor’s assistant prior to the war.

According to the National Australian Archives he was an apprentice for four and a half years and was a member of the Cadets for four years: “37th Illawarra Infantry under UT Regs.”

He enlisted on 16 October 1915 and joined the 18th Infantry battalion, 10 Reinforcements under the rank of private. He was followed by his brother William James who enlisted on 12 June 1917 and joined the 18th Battalion, 1-13 Reinforcements.

He actively rose through the ranks during his service from Private, Lance Corporal and Corporal to Sergeant in September 1917.

A letter was sent to his mother on 21 May 1917 stating that Corporal Charles Christiansen had been admitted to hospital. “Fifth May gunshot wound multiple severe will advise anything further.” He re-joined his battalion on 1 September 1917 following his recovery.

He was killed in action on 25 April 1918 at Hangard Wood, France. He is commemorated at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial as well as panel 85 at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Witnesses of his death state: “…We found ourselves nearer to the German line that we intended, we were only about 15 yds distant from it and the Germans heard us and turned a machine gun onto us. I was just beside Christiansen and we both fell prone, but not before he got three machine gun bursts in his side and he died in a couple of minutes…[sic]”

He received the British War and Victory medals.

The South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus report:

10 May 1918
Christiansen- In loving memory of our dear son and brother, Sergt. Charles Walter Christiansen, 18th Battalion, killed in action in France, aged 23 years and 7 months.
He nobly answered duty’s call,
He gave his life for one and all.
Inserted by his mother, father, sister and brothers, Woonona.

Christiansen- In loving memory of out dear brother, Sergt C. W. Christiansen, aged 23 years, No 4087, 18th Battalion, killed in action in France, 15th April, 1918.
Rest, soldier brave the war is o’er,
As the boys return we miss you more.
His heart was good, his spirit brave,
His resting place, a soldier’s grave.

Inserted by his loving brother and sister-in-law, Norman and Ethel.

Documents such as his enlistment and casualty records etc. located on the National Australian Archives spell his surname as ‘Christianson’. 

NB. The image of Charles Walter Christiansen has been shared by Wollongong City Gallery following the War and Remembrance project (October 2003 – January 2004).

The purpose of the project was to acknowledge the contributions of Illawarra residents in various wars, conflicts and peacekeeping missions from the Boer War to the present day.

If anyone has any information or additional photographs of these soldiers and nurses, please contact us.

Sources: 
Australian War Memorial, First World War Embarkation Rolls – Charles Walter Christiansen, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1674713/, viewed 11 June 2014.
Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing – 4087 Sergeant Charles Walter Christiansen, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1040021--1-.PDF, viewed 11 June 2014.
NAA: B2455, CHRISTIANSEN C W
‘On Active Service,’ South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus, 11 May 1919, p.11.
‘Roll of Honour,’ South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus, 10 May 1918, p. 10.

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