149 AKINS, Charles

149 Charles Akins - ( photo property of family collection - courtesy Maureen Freeman)
149 Charles Akins – (photo property of family collection – courtesy Maureen Freeman)

149 Charles Akins

149 Charles Akins was born in Windsor New South Wales on the 8th August 1883. The Akins families were among the early settler families of the Hawkesbury region. His father Stephen. J Akins had died when he was just 12 years old and his mother Margaret ( nee Hutchinson) sadly died the following year in 1896.

Charles was 32 when he enlisted, an electrician employed at Clyde Engineering Works and he also served with the NSW mounted rifles.

Charles is accredited with the  making of the famous Gallipoli memorial cross and wreath which immortalised the  memory of fourteen engineers from the 1st FCE.  A photo of this cross was on the front page of the Sydney Mail and the Globe with an attached article with reference to his Aunty offering copies of the photo .

Charles remained at Gallipoli up to the final evacuation  and returned to Egypt on the “Empress of Britain”  disembarking at Alexandria on the 3rd January 1916 with the remaining originals and reinforcements of the 1st FCE.

In March 1916 still with the 1st FCE he proceeded to France.  Charles was in the field for twelve months when he was admitted to the field hospital for Balanitis, an inflammation of the penis glans and often mistaken for vd.

In June /July 1917 he was transferred to Perham Downs to the 1st Command Depot and shortly after to the Flying Corps at Harlaxton and was attached to the 68th Squadron Australian Flying Corp aka the No.2 Flying Squadron for duty as batman.

As it so happens this was the same Flying Corp as fellow original sapper 110 Gordon Wilson who was now the highly decorated Captain Gordon Wilson AFC.

The second squadron of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) was formed, as 68 (Australian) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (RFC), at Kantara in Egypt on 20 September 1916. Its initial personnel were drawn from 67 (Australian) Squadron and were soon supplemented by volunteers from the light horse regiments and extra mechanics from Australia. The squadron proceeded to the United Kingdom for training in January 1917, and in September was deployed for operations over the Western Front.

In December 1918 still attached the 2/Sqd. AFC Charles contracted Broncho-Pneumonia and was considered dangerously ill and transferred to the 3rd Anzac Hospital in Dartford England.

Nursing Charles through his recovery was Lily Violet Montague.
He made a full recovery and was later granted leave in the UK for 75 days.

He returned to Australia on The Soudan, and disembarked 31st June 1919.

His war records show’s an ugly side of the domestic battles at home over the next of kin (nok) and entitlements while the soldier was at war. In Charlie’s case a dispute had arisen between his friend Eva Healey his officially attested nok and his older married sister Mary Eyers.  Eva Healey was trying to maintain contact with Charles, meanwhile Mary had discovered that Eva was his nok and argued that she was confused by the monetary arrangements as she claimed Charles had previously made promises of support to her and her son and she had all his clothes and that she should be his nok. Curiously Eva his “girl” friend also had all of his clothes. It appears that his sister Mary eventually trumped Eva and she later became his nok.
His Aunty Mrs. Akins of 30 Burton street also forwarded a letter regarding nok, however she was not so concerned over monetary arrangements and was a very proud Aunty who simply wanted to attend the Domain Supper when he returned and did not want to miss out on tickets to the event. She was informed that Charles sister Mary Eyers had received the tickets.

Shortly after Charles returned home to Australia he married  Lily Violet Montague in 1919 in Sydney. Charles and Lily had two sons, William Charles Montague and George Joseph.
Between 1930 and 1934 they had moved around a bit living in Lidcombe and later Glebe,  and then settling down and retired at Wondabyne a remote and small Hawkesbury River village in 1934.

Shortly after they moved, while fishing on the Hawkesbury with his son , Charles suffered a heart attack and  died in 1935  at Wondabyne,  he was only 52.

The following is a recent photo of his Commonwealth War Grave at Rookwood Cemetery Sydney. His wife Lily is also buried in the same plot.

 

War Grave - Rookwood Cemetery - photo V.Kelly
War Grave – Rookwood Cemetery – photo V.Kelly

For Lily the loss of Charles meant she had to sell his timber launch,  perhaps not such a difficult decision given its tragic connection to his passing.

A newspaper classified later showing the sale reads  “Must sell, last in family”

Wondabyne Via Woy Woy – see below advert
The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 7 September 1935

LAUNCH for Sale. 15ft x 5ft 6in, solid maple, good condition. Vinco engine, 2 years old, £27. Must sell, last in family. Apply Mrs. L V. Akins. Wondabyne. Hawkesbury River.

In 1936 Lily moved back to Lidcombe and later in 1937  she was living in Concord and had remarried Hans Martin Nielson

Acknowledgement :

Maureen Freeman, grand daughter of Charles Akins for kindly allowing the use of her photo and additional family information she has so kindly provided.

Sources:

Maureen Freeman

Ancestry.com

BDM, AWM, NLA, NAA

 Family Notes :

Maureen Freeman, grand daughter of Charles Akins 149 last year discovered that Charles was an original Anzac , Maureen has shared his photograph and provided additional family information.

Charles and Lily met while she was nursing him in the 3rd Anzac hospital in Dartford
in England.

Charles had four sons and a daughter Violet Akins born 19/12/25. …Maureen’s  mother Violet passed away last year on 27/6/2015.

Charles died from a heart attack in 1935 while fishing from his boat with his son underneath the Hawkesbury River bridge.

Charles and Violet had  five children –

Violet Akins b. 1925 – d.2015

William Charles Montague Akins – died 1966

George Joseph Akins – died 1980

Thomas Akins born 28/11/22

Hurley Moya Owen Akins [known as Peter] born 1928

Charles siblings in order were,

Hannah – [1871-1928]
Mary  – [1871-1936] ………..EYERS. – March 29, 1936, at the residence of her daughter, 11 Botany-street, Redfern, Mary Ann, relict of the late William Thomas Eyers and loving mother of Edie, Nellie, William, Stephen, Renie, Elsie, Hilda, and Essie, aged 63 years. Source: nla.news-article17320879

Stephen – [1877- ]
John –  [1879-1909]
George – [1885-1935]
Ellen – [1888- ]
Thomas – [1892-1942]

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