Social history and biography of
Charles Edward Murray Puckle 1887 - 1915
(A soldier of the Great War)
The mercantile firm of McCulloch Sellar and Company of Melbourne, founded about 1862, continued after the death of its founders until the company ceased trading in 1911. One of the last partners was merchant Charles Murray Puckle of Melbourne, whose son Charles Edward Murray Puckle died at Gallipoli.
He had lived with his family at Toorak, and was educated at Melbourne Grammar School and Hawkesbury Agricultural College.
The service record of Charles Edward can be found on the National Archives of Australia website. He enlisted at Blackboy Hill, Perth, Western Australia, on 5th September 1914 as Private 818, 11th Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division of the Australian Imperial Force.
He is described as height 5ft 7in, weight 130 Ibs, brown eyes with dark brown hair.
He was a farmer and grazier of Kockatea Estate, Mullewa, in Western Australia who farmed in partnership with another young man, Alister Campbell Russell.
Charles Edward named his father as next of kin and also asked for Miss T Burges of the National Bank, Belfast to be notified. Esther Temple Burges was his fiancee.
Charles Edward was sent to the Dardanelles to join the Gallipoli Campaign where he was soon promoted to acting Second Lieutenant and commended for a successful attack on an enemy trench. Sadly, soon after he was killed in a subsequent action.
There seems slight confusion about the date of his death which was finally recorded as 3rd August 1915.
Charles Edward left touching instructions that his personal belongings should be sent back to his father, who would know what to do with them.
He is buried at Shell Green Cemetery
Charles Edward was the eldest son of London born Charles Murray Puckle, son of a vicar, and Caroline Amelia Shuter who had settled in Melbourne.
His younger brother Hugh Noel Murray Puckle MB BS FRCS, who was born at Melbourne on 11 Jan 1890, became a surgeon. The London Gazette reported Hugh's appointment as a temporary Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1915.
Hugh survived the Great War and married divorcee Kathleen Elizabeth Saddler Mumby nee Hirschfeld in 1936 who was the daughter of Austrian doctor Eugen Hirschfeld. They had no children and he died at Hobart, Tasmania in 1945 bequeathing his residuary estate for the creation of a medical scholarship, the Hugh Noel Puckle Scholarship.
Hugh's widow, Kathleen, married third, in 1951, Harry Eric Bagot, 7th Baron Bagot.
Charles Edward also had a sister Dorothy Eveline Elizabeth Puckle who married late in life and left no heir.
Charles Edward left his residuary estate to his fiancee Esther Temple Burges who after the Great War married his business partner, farmer Alister Campbell Russell.
They continued to farm at Kockatea for a while but eventually had to give up due to a series of droughts.
In 1967 the Australian and New Zealand governments jointly agreed to issue an ANZAC Commemorative Medallion (which was not designed to be worn) to all veterans and the next of kin of veterans who had served at Gallipoli.
Esther, Charles' fiancee, wrote to the Ministry of Defence asking if she could be sent Charle's Gallipoli medallion, as by then he had no other surviving family.
You will find some other casualties of the Great War listed on our Lest We Forget page.
1. Service records, National Archives of Australia
2. London Gazette 1915
3. Digital archives of The Argus newspaper, Melbourne
4. Game to the Last: The 11th Australian Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli
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Last updated 29th June 2014