Charles Beileiter, Millhand and Solider from Bawley Point
Charles Lyons Beileiter
Serial Number and Rank: 2615, Pvt
Birth: 1896 Bombala
Parents: John & Sarah Beileiter nee Ralphs
Enlisted: 24 May 1916 Kiama
Next of Kin: Originally listed as Father John Beileiter, but changed after marriage to Nellie ? of Hampton England. War record admended 24 April 1918.
Service: 45th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement
Marriage: Nellie ? 1918 England
Honour Rolls: Milton Church of England, RSL Honour Roll, Milton Town Memorial
After the war he lived at Newtown Sydney, and returned home to Termeil by 1921.
Son James Henry Beileiter served in WW11 N318761
Brothers: Arthur Samuel Beileiter and John Beileiter also served in WW1
Charles Lyons Beileiter was born in 1896 at Bombala, son of John Beileiter and his wife Sarah nee Ralphs, he was 19 years old when he enlisted for war service at Kiama in May 1916 with permission of both his parents. Charles was working as a mill hand at Bawley Point Mill at this time.
He went home to see his parents at Newtown Bombala on final leave he was shipped out aboard HMAT Ceramic A40 from Sydney in October 1916 with the 45th battalion.
Charles had joined the war as apart of local war census and recruiting that was held at Termeil and its immediate vicinity in March 1916 to 34 eligible men. Those who answered ‘the Call to Arms’ included Charles Lyon Beileiter, James Backhouse, McDonald, George Davenport, Richard Johnston, Oswald Horne, Alexander Heycox, Sydney George Hapgood, Robert Lewis, William Page, Peter Gould Young and David Berry Young from the Termeil area and Frederick Smith of Milton. Arthur Samuel Beileiter of Shallow Crossing, Samuel’s younger brother and his mate Frederick Sellick also enlisted at the same time.
Whilst aboard HMAT Ceramic A40, Charles wrote a letter to his sister in Sydney, and enclosed the letter in a bottle and threw it overboard near the coast of Western Australia. It was picked up by Miss Hettie Grant in December 1916 and she fowarded it to Mrs. Moran, Charles’ sister. Miss Grant wrote a very nice letter to Mrs. Moran, saying that this was the fifth note picked up on the beach by members of her family, four from soldiers and the other from a survey vessel. She herself, had lost a brother at the Dardanelles, and had just received word that her fiancé had been seriously wounded. Miss Grant corresponds with all the soldiers whose letters they have found, and she has all their photos.
Arthur Beileiter, wrote a letter home in July 1917 saying that he is in the band of the 55th Battalion — a band of 28 performers. They recently had their photos taken for the Sydney Mail and that Charlie his brother, is in the 19th Brigade Band.
Charlie was wounded in the knee with shrapnel in June 1917 in France whilst fighting with the 45th Battalion, and again wounded from a gunshot wound in the left shoulder and sent to England for convalescing at the Cheltenham Voluntary and Detachment Hospital, England in October 1917, where he saw out the end of his war service.
Whilst he was been nursed in hospital in fell in love with Nellie his nurse and they married in England. They both travel to Australia in March 1818 and Charles was medical discharged in July 1918. After a few months’ rest with his parents at Bombala, he was given his old job at Bawley Point saw mill. On the return of four other soldier boys they too were to be put on to their respective jobs at the saw mill.
The long awaited event of the welcoming home one of Charley Beileiter, took place at Wallinga Hall in December 1918 at Bawley Point. A large number of people turned up for the occasion, and all enjoyed a pleasant social evening. Mr. Paul Vider occupied the Chair, and on behalf of the residents of Bawlev Point, Termeil, and Kioloa, presented Charley with a very handsome silver teapot (suitably engraved) and a cheque for £5 7s.
In the course of a short address delivered by Mr. Vider, he congratulated Charley on taking to himself a wife. (Charley’s wife nursed him in hospital.) Soldier Charley responded in a very nice speech, especially stating his delight at having, done his bit for his country.
Charles’ brother Arthur from Shallow Crossing like many soldiers wrote letter to home, on such letter arrived in June 1917 and Arthur gave a little of his experience in the trenches in France. He went into action without a flinch, although the ‘Jack Johnsons’ were falling about him galore. I was in the front line,’ he wrote, ‘and only saw two Fritzs all the time. When we came out, I did four days in support and fatigue work, carrying rations to the front line to my comrades. We were under fire all the time. You can dodge the shells. You can hear them coming half a-mile away. They scream just like the whistle of a steam engine, and you can ‘tell whether they are going over you or will drop near you. In one trench we were in, which we captured from the Germans, we were in mud waist deep for five days and could not get out.
On the sixth night we got the order to charge and over the top we had to go. We captured a trench and got 30 prisoners. They flung up their hands and sang out ‘ Kamarade ! Mercy!’ I said, ‘I’ll show you no mercy !’ and knocked him with the stock of my rifle on the nose. Another was sitting on the parapet singing out, ‘Me Australian!’ in English. I told him to come down and he started to squeal, and someone bayonetted him through the throat. Next morning they counter-attacked and we drove them back. They opened with heavy shell fire and then we suffered. It lasted from five in the morning until eight at night, and our poor boys were lying everywhere dead and wounded. We were up to our waists in mud and water. A shell burst about ten yards from where three of us were, standing. Both my mates were killed and I got hit in the shoulder and in the thigh. There is a slight wound in my shoulder — I think the piece is in there yet, but very small. My thigh is black where I got hit. We then saw them bringing up supports for another counter-attack so we opened rapid fire at 12,000 yards and mowed them down like rabbits. They soon hoisted a white flag to show that stretcher bearers were working so we got the order to cease fire.
All this time my feet were as big as a bucket, as black as a pot, and dead, so I went to the Captain and he ordered me to doctor, who passed me for Blighty with trench feet. I am in the best of health now and getting along well. I think Fritz is badly beaten and the end is very nigh.’
Arthur was again wounded from a gun shot to right knee in December 1917 whilst fighting with the 45th Battalion. Arthur was again in hospital in England in April 1918 suffering from the effects of gas. Charles and Arthur eldest brother John Beileiter enlisted in the war in December 1915 at the age of 35 years in Goulburn, he served with the 1st battalion in the Middle East, he was medical discharged in October 1916, John tried to reenlist in January 1917 at Parkes but was rejected. Other local men who also served with the 45th Battalion were Robert Backhouse, Robert Gibson Latta and Robert James Lewis.
Charles Beileiter’s name is listed many local honour rolls: Milton Church of England, Milton Ulladulla RSL Honour Roll and the Milton Town Memorial. He was awarded the British War and the Victory medal.