Gunner Charles Stanley Trewavis

Service number 19566
Birth Date 1891
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Port Melbourne
Death Date 1939-04-20
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Final Rank Gunner
Unit 3rd Australian Divisional Artillery
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918

Charles Stanley Trewavis was born at Port Melbourne in 1891 to John and Elizabeth Jane (née Martin). Members of his family were prominent in the local community and actively involved in school, sporting and church groups. Charles gravitated to the latter, becoming choir master of the Graham Street Methodist Church from 1909 to 1916. He was also a regular participant in local musical competitions and concerts, noted as being “a baritone of nice quality”.

Charles and his older brother Harold both enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 23 March 1916, while his younger brother, John, joined in November of the same year. At a farewell social held at the local church school hall in late March, Charles was presented with a collection of handsome gifts consisting of a cheque from the church trust fund for his past services, a safety razor, an autograph album and silver card case from the choir, and a pocket camera from members of the congregation. He subsequently began training at Broadmeadows before moving on to Maribyrnong Camp for artillery instruction.

Charles embarked from Port Melbourne, attached to the 8th Field Artillery Brigade aboard HMAT Medic on 20 May 1916. He was appointed a driver in September and proceeded to France in late December 1916. He was detached to the 3rd Australian Division Headquarters in January 1918 for duty with the divisional Pierrot Troupe known as The Coo-ees, a variety-based troupe tasked with entertaining front-line troops of the 3rd Division. Charles performed with the troupe at several concerts in France during late October 1918, singing “The Battle Eve” as a duet with George Alexander Stevenson and the “Muleteer of Malaga” solo.

Charles continued his association with The Coo-ees until he left France for England on 21 April 1919. He departed Plymouth on 12 June and disembarked at Port Melbourne on 8 August 1919. Within a month of arriving home, he returned to the stage for a concert at the Assembly Hall; a newspaper report on the event noting he sang with “commendable sincerity and purpose”, and that he had “developed considerably since last heard in public”.

Charles married Elsie Mary Kefford at Wesley Church in Lonsdale Street on 12 October 1920. He returned to working as a clerk, but remained devoted to singing for the remainder of his life, performing at local concerts, on radio, and most faithfully, with church groups. Charles Trewavis died on 20 April 1939 when his car was struck by a train under strange circumstances. He was due to sing at the Toorak Presbyterian Church an hour later that evening.



Date of birth 1891
Date of enlistment 23 March 1916
Date of embarkation 20 May 1916
Date returned to Australia 13 June 1919
Date of death 20 April 1939