Charles George (Chas) SCHRODER MSM, MiD, CdeG

SCHRODER, Charles George

Service Number: 2438
Enlisted: 6 June 1915, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Warrant Officer Class 1
Last Unit: 3rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Fernmount, New South Wales, 26 March 1893
Home Town: Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales
Schooling: Wickham Superior Public School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Natural causes (stomach cancer), Toronto, New South Wales, 22 November 1963, aged 70 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

6 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2438, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Liverpool, New South Wales
14 Jul 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2438, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Orsova, Sydney
14 Jul 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2438, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2438, 3rd Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli
11 Nov 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Staff Quartermaster Sergeant, Headquarters 2nd Anzac
7 Oct 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Warrant Officer Class 1, Headquarters 2nd Anzac
6 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Warrant Officer Class 1, SN 2438, 3rd Infantry Battalion

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Biography

Charles George Schroder was born in 1893 in Fernmount, on the Bellinger River, the eldest son of Danish-born Carl Hammer Schroder and Scottish-born Barbara McKay née Donald. Carl was an engineer and dredge-master. The family moved from Bellingen to Newcastle in 1903. Charles joined the Hunter District Water Supply and Sewerage Board as a junior clerk in 1909, and except for his war years he remained in this organisation until his retirement due to ill-health, in 1953.

Charles never spoke much about his war service, and was not interested in Anzac Day commemorations. We do know that his clerical skills were put to good use as he was quickly transferred to Anzac HQ at Gallipoli soon after his arrival in September 1915. He remained with II ANZAC HQ until it merged to become the Australian Corps, at which time he was transferred to the British XXII Corps HQ. In this role he was one of few Australians who participated in the victory of the Second Battle of the Marne, attached to the French 5th Army. For this he was awarded the French military decoration, Croix de Guerre avec Palmes. 

The family made enquiries of the French military authorities through the French Embassy in Canberra during the 1970s. In response, we were sent a copy of a certificate signed by the General Commander of the French 5th Army:

GENERAL ORDER NUMBER 363

The Commanding General of the 5th Army notes that the following person:

2438 Warrant Officer Class I

Charles, Georges SCHRODER

3rd Battalion Australian Imperial Force

‘During recent operations, he had enormous responsibility. He always acquitted his functions to the satisfaction of his superiors. Very conscientious and hard working.’

THIS CITATION INVOLVES THE AWARD OF THE CROSS OF WAR WITH PALM.

Signed 9 August 1918

Commander-General of the 5th Army

As well as this decoration, Charles was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in January 1917, and was specially mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatch of 7 April 1918.

Charles was known to love cricket - and perhaps it was cricket that preserved his life! He left the Western From in August 1918 following an accident sustained while bowling a fast ball during a match between XXII Corps HQ personnel! He suffered a severe fracture of the right tibia. He was admitted tot he Central Military Hospital at Eastbourne in England on 30 August 1918 - his war was over.

On his return from Europe, Charles married Ella Elizabeth Gilbert on 20 November 1920, and they had three sons: John Gilbert, Peter George and Robert McRae. They lived at 3 Day Street Toronto, on Lake Macquarie, where Charles enjoyed fishing and sailing. He also maintained a thriving vegetable garden and backyard chooks. In his younger days, Charles was a lay preacher (within the Methodist church), but he became disillusioned with formal religion as a result of the behaviour of some of the ministers he had associated with. He remained an upright and devout man.

Charles worked his way up in the Water Board, becoming its principal bookkeeper (1924), accountant (1934) and secretary (1936). He became president on 7 December 1938 and remained in this position until he retired due to ill-health in March 1953. He was responsible for mechanising the Board’s accounting procedures, the extension of water mains and sewerage services to outlying areas, and the construction of the Tomago Sandbeds Water Supply Works. During WWII he served on the State War Effort Co-ordination Committee and as chief executive officer of the Northern District Co-ordination Control. Following his retirement he was presented with a number of framed cartoons that had been drawn by the cartoonist of the Newcastle Herald. One of them depicted him lamenting the lack of water supply to his garden, with Charles unaware that he had pushed his mower over the hose, cutting it to pieces.

Charles George Schroder died on 22 November 1963 of stomach cancer. He was survived by his wife, three sons and nine grandchildren.

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