Charles Duff Irwin

Charles Duff Irwin, son of Thomas Kennedy Irwin Senior, was one of the Irwin sons that enlisted in the First World War. His father and brothers, Thomas Kennedy Irwin (jnr) and William McIntosh Irwin participated in the war.

He was born on 29 March, 1898 at Wollongong and lived at Campbell Street with his family. Charles attended Wollongong Public school and subsequently worked as a ‘dealer.’[1] Charles was also a member of the North Wollongong Surf Life Savers, ‘Water Rats.’

Surf Life Saving medal awarded to Charles Irwin.

Surf Life Saving medal awarded to Charles Irwin (front).

Surf Life Saving medal awarded to Charles Irwin (back).

Surf Life Saving medal awarded to Charles Irwin (back).

According to the National Australian Archives, Charles Irwin enlisted twice. He initially enlisted on 3 March 1916 and was sent to the AIF 53rd Battalion Depot, Bathurst. He was discharged on 25 April 1916 on the grounds of being ‘medically unfit.’ Reports coincide with his discharge, stating that he was in Bathurst Hospital with appendicitis, March 1916.

He enlisted again on 4 October 1916 and was accepted, joining the 13th Battalion 22nd Reinforcements. Charles’ medical examination records state that he had a scar from the appendicitis operation. He embarked on 8 November 1916 from Sydney aboard SS Port Nicholson.[2]

GRANT_EJ-01_crop

(Left to right) William McIntosh Irwin, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr, Charles Duff Irwin.

 

His service ranged from Etaples, Havre as well as Passchendaele where he received shell wounds in both knees and back resulting in the amputation of his left leg at the 10th CCS (Casualty Clearing Station). Charles died of wounds on 16 October 1917; he was only 19 years of age. He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium: Plot 21, Row 2, Grace E3.[3]

Grave of Charles Duff Irwin

Grave of Charles Duff Irwin

He received the British War and Victory medals as well as a Memorial Scroll and Plaque, all which were sent to his father. He is commemorated at the Australian War Memorial: Commemorative Area, panel 69.[4]

An obituary was published in Illawarra Mercury under a roll of honour; many family members had their messages published.

Illawarra Mercury: Roll of Honour 1919.

Illawarra Mercury: Roll of Honour 1919.

[5]

Charles Duff Irwin is commemorated on a number of local memorials including: Wollongong Primary School, City Church (formerly Presbyterian Church), Wollongong War Memorial as well as the North Wollongong Surf Club.

 

 

 

NAA: B2455, IRWIN CHARLES DUFF

 

[1] Australian War Memorial, Australian Imperial Force – Nominal Roll – continued, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/items/ACCNUM_LARGE/RCDIG1067492/RCDIG1067492–145-.JPG&gt; viewed 26 March 2014.

[2] Australian War Memorial, Embarkation Rolls – Charles Duff Irwin, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1903432/&gt; viewed 26 March 2014.

[3] Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1631204/&gt; viewed 26 March 2014.

[4] Ibid.

[5] ‘Obituary,’ Illawarra Mercury, 10 October 1919, p.2.