Charles (Charlie) Mance


Charles (Charlie) Mance

Charles (Charlie) Mance enlisted in the 1st AIF on the 12th April 1917. He was 16 years old at the time and left his job in a blacksmith foundry to join the 14/2nd Machine Gun company at Brunswick, Victoria.

He sailed to England on the troopship Aeneas in October 1917 (see photograph of departure, below), and transferred to the 22nd Battalion in December 1917.

In April 1918 his Battalion moved to France to take part in the 6th Brigade, 2nd Australian Division's advance south of the Somme. Charlie Mance was gassed in June 1918, but returned to the line in the July, was wounded a second time in August, but remained on duty. He fought in the grim battles at Villers-Bretonneux, Herleville Wood and Mont St Quentin.

He returned to Australia in February 1920 and was discharged in March having served more than 1000 days in military service.

Charlie Mance spent his working life as a bricklayer in Victoria, the ACT, and New South Wales.

Along with three other First War veterans, he returned to France in 1998 to mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, where he was decorated with France's greatest decoration, the Legion of Honour.

In April 1999 Mr Mance received the 80th Anniversary Armistice Remembrance Medal, the first commemorative medal in the Australian system of honours and awards.

Charlie Mance was an active man up until his death at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital on Thursday 13th September 2001. At 100 years of age, he was the last surviving member of the 8,000 22nd Battalion, 1st AIF.

Earlier in the year he told a Sydney Morning Herald reporter that "He tried to forget war for most of his life ...A man that wants war is not right in the head ... Nobody won the First World War. Both sides were flat out. We were glad to finish it."

  • Press Release - Premier of New South Wales. State Funeral for Charlie Mance - World War One Veteran. September 14, 2001. (PDF)
  • State Funeral and thanksgiving for the life of Lionel Charles (Charlie) Mance. The Parish Church of St James King Street, Sydney. (PDF)
  • Extraordinary Supplement to the Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales, Wednesday 19th September 2001. (PDF)
  • Eulogy Delivered at the Funeral of L ionel Charles (Charlie) Mance by the Premier of New South Wales, the Hon. Robert Carr, MP (PDF)