212 Charles Carrington “Chook” Fowle was affectionately known as the section wag and every company, unit , or battalion, probably had a Chook Fowle. These “happy-go- lucky” men were often needed at times to bring some levity to an otherwise dark and gloomy situation.
His close mate 213 Roy Denning noted that “Chook” Fowle knew when it was about time to lighten the mood and quoted ……..“Chook jumped to his feet and with his usual comical grin, began to sing part of the old song ”Oh my , I don’t want to die I want to go home” …. Amidst roars of laughter and cries of “We want to go with you , Chook”.
The conversation ended and the small group of men went silent and were left to consider the grim reality ahead….. Two days later they would be the among the first to set foot on Anzac Cove, Gallipoli.
212 “JACK” Fowle also well known as “Chook” Charles Carrington was a good mate to many of the sappers and was particular memorable to 213 Roy Denning who enjoyed his humour and larrikin like outbursts.
“Chook ” was 28 years old from Kensington Sydney, a plumber by trade and working as an inspector specialising in water supply and bridge works with the NSW Public Works department prior to enlisting.
His mother Catherine and father George had received their first telegram and news of their son, which said he was wounded on the 12th June but not seriously. This news must have offered some hope for his family. The telegram perhaps was a little inaccurate as to the degree of his wounds, he was severely wounded , his leg completely shattered to pieces. As mentioned in the circular recorded on his wounding, “Chook” had a part of his leg blown off and he had hopped down to the dressing station unassisted carrying part of his leg.
His service record shows he was wounded at Shrapnel Valley Gallipoli on the 31st May 1915, his leg was badly shattered, and he was shipped out on the H.S “Gascon ” and his leg needed to be amputated .
213 Roy Denning gave an account in his diary about a conversation he had with his good mate Chook , a serious conversation about war and whether they would rather lose a limb or be killed. “Chook ” openly declared he’d rather be killed. In the end, he remained true to his belief as ultimately it was the loss of a limb that caused his death, however behind all his humorous charm and bravado, I believe Charles “Chook” Fowle was someone determined not to give up easily.
The following is a transcript from ‘Chook” Fowle’s last letter sent home to his father…………….
“Well I suppose you know before this that I have met my Waterloo. Yes; I happened to get in the road of a shell, which took my left foot clean off. They trimmed up the remainder of my leg, and now my leg finishes 3 jnces above the ankle. It was on May 30 (Sunday afternoon) that it happened, and, after spending eight days on hospital ship, I was brought to Egypt; and I can tell you they are treating me right royally here. The place is run by Greek ladies and doctors of the city, and as far as treatment and food go I want for nothing. The barber comes in every day to shave the patients, so I consider myself fortunate in striking a place like this.
I had to undergo a second operation to stop the bleeding, but everything is O.K. now, and I have no pain, and expect to be healed in about another week. I believe, as soon as I get better, I will be sent to England, where I will be fixed up with an artificial foot, a barrel organ, and monkey.
Well, I didn’t win a V.C. or get any special mention. As I told you before, I was after Lord Kitchener’s job; but I can say i did my bit— and a bit over, too. However, the Australians have made a great name for themselves, and the Turks know it to their sorrow. Well, I am a lot better off than other poor fellows, so don’t worry, I expect to be home for Mum’s Christmas’ plum pudding. King regards to all with my best love.”
Charles “Chook” Fowle was ever the optimist, his humour and clever wit throughout his ordeal remained until the end.
Unfortunately Charles Fowle died 4 weeks later in the Greek Hospital in Alexandria, Egypt, the record showing on 13th July 1915 he died from the wounds he received in action at the Dardanelles.
No doubt when word had filtered back to the unit that “Chook” had died, the company felt the loss of a very good mate and a true Aussie character. His name was then added with his fellow engineers and immortalized on the cross below.
Charles “Chook” Carrington Fowle was buried at Chatby Military Cemetery Egypt and was officiated by Chaplain Valentine.
Sadly his mother would receive none of his personal effects , after exhaustive searches nothing could be found. It was also a mystery for some years where Charles was laid to rest and it also took almost seven years before the family received his medals and memorial plaque.
Chook was never forgotten at home, and his friends and family paid tribute to him in the family notices of the Sydney Morning Herald and continued for some years on each anniversary of his death. His friends at the Sydney Sports Ground sum up the feelings people had for Charles Fowle.
FOWLE. -Sapper C C (Jack) Fowle who died of wounds received at the Dardanelles fighting for his King and country. A man, a sport, and a true friend. Inserted by his friends of the Sydney Sports Ground….. Source : nla.news-article15580283
100 years later we still remember and honour him.
Sydney Morning Herald family notices 1915
FOWLE.-C. C. (Jack) Fowle Sapper, 1st Field Co Engineers, amongst the first to land on Gallipoli Peninsula, wounded May 30, died in Greek hospital Alexandria, July 13 1915 for King Empire, and liberty Inserted by his loving father and mother, G. A. and C. C. Fowle, Kensington
FOWLE.- Charles Carrington (Jack) Fowle sapper. 1st Field Co , Engineers died of wounds at Greek, hospital, Alexandria July 13 My brother he lived, our soldier he fell. Inserted by his loving sister, Florence Fowle, Springwood Ladies’ College
FOWLE.- C. C. (Jack) Fowle sapper 1st Field Co , Engineers died on July 13 1915 of wounds received at the Dardanelles. Inserted by his loving brothers, Gus, of s.s. Empire, and Fred , of s.s. Cooma.
13th July 1917 2 years later still honoured and remembered by family and friends – Sydney Morning Herald
FOWLE.-In loving memory of Sapper Charles Carrington (Jack) Fowle, 212, 1st Field Co., Engineers, who died of wounds received at Gallipoli, July 13,
1915. Inserted by his loving father, mother, brothers, and sister, Gus, Fred., and Florence.
FOWLE.-Died of wounds at Gallipoli, C. C. (Jack) Fowle, about July 13, 1915. One of the best Inserted by A. A. Heath and W. A. Harris.
FOWLE.-In memory of my dear friend, C. C. (Jack) Fowle, who died of wounds, July 13, 1015. Inserted by Jim Rattray.
In July 1967 his loving sister, now Florence Johnston and her son Kenneth Peter Johnston applied for his Gallipoli Medal, she was living at Willoughby, NSW.
Roll of Honour name projection
Charles Carrington Fowle’s name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory on:
- Mon 20 July, 2015 at 6:23 pm
- Thu 3 September, 2015 at 11:16 pm
- Wed 28 October, 2015 at 10:10 pm
- Fri 1 January, 2016 at 3:29 am
- Fri 26 February, 2016 at 11:09 pm
- Tue 19 April, 2016 at 2:32 am
- Thu 2 June, 2016 at 10:23 pm
- Thu 14 July, 2016 at 7:36 pm
- Sun 28 August, 2016 at 11:37 pm
- Thu 20 October, 2016 at 11:42 pm
Sources & Acnowledgments:
“Anzac Digger ” – Roy and Lorna Denning
AWM, NLA, NAA