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Bishop, Charles George (1895–1931)

by E. J. O'Donnell

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

Charles George Bishop (1895-1931), soldier, labourer and council inspector, was born on 12 September 1895 at Urana, New South Wales, son of Charles George Bishop, labourer, and his wife Violet Jane, née Stripling. He attended Lavington Public School but had no further education after his mother died when he was 11. Before World War I he worked as a labourer, and served for two years with a militia unit, the 44th (Riverina) Infantry Regiment.

Bishop enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 3 August 1915 and two months later sailed for Egypt with reinforcements for the 18th Battalion. By May 1916 his unit was in France at Armentières where he distinguished himself in patrolling. On 4 August he was so severely wounded at Pozières Heights that he was unable to return to duty until late December. His battalion remained on the Western Front throughout 1917, fighting at Lagnicourt, Bullecourt, Messines and Passchendaele. Bishop was promoted lance corporal in May, corporal in September and sergeant in October.

In April 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal for leading an attack on an enemy patrol of thirty men at Pont Rouge, Belgium. During a patrol action on 8 March, German scouts had been seen entering a trench; Sergeant Bishop and three men, with covering fire from their mates, assaulted the enemy from a flank and routed them. In September he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal for 'conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty' on 15 April 1918, while in charge of a mopping up party at Cemetery Copse in the Villers-Bretonneux sector. He had to contend with an unexpectedly large number of Germans, but accomplished his task by bringing in neighbouring troops to assist in a prolonged action. His last encounter with the enemy was at Morlancourt on 19 May 1918. Although wounded in the face during the preliminary bombardment, he took charge of a party and reached the objective, rescued a wounded officer and took his place, until he too was wounded and evacuated. For this action, he was awarded a Bar to his Military Medal.

Bishop's various wounds were severe: he was invalided back to Australia on 20 October. The Armistice was signed while he was at sea and he returned to Albury as a local hero. After discharge from the A.I.F. he resumed his former occupation of labourer and worked on the construction of the Hume Weir until 1924 when he was appointed health and nuisance inspector with Hume Shire Council. In 1922 he had married May Elizabeth Knobel at Thurgoona; they had two children. Bishop was a tall well-built man, popular in the district. He marched on Anzac Day, but did not dwell on his wartime experiences. He died at Albury on 17 September 1931 of septic pharyngitis and cellulitis after only two days illness, and was buried in the Catholic cemetery. His early death was hastened by the effects of his wounds.

Select Bibliography

  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F in France 1916-1918, (Syd, 1929, 1937, 1942)
  • London Gazette, 23 Apr, 3 Sept, 4 Oct 1918
  • Reveille (Sydney), 30 Sept 1931
  • Sun (Sydney), 20 Oct 1931
  • 18th Battalion War Diary (Australian War Memorial)
  • records (Australian War Memorial)
  • private information.

Citation details

E. J. O'Donnell, 'Bishop, Charles George (1895–1931)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bishop-charles-george-5246/text8837, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 17 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

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