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Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

Olson, Charles (1427)

Place of Birth: Port Melbourne, VIC

Age: 25 years 1 month

Enlistment Details: Saturday, 17 July 1915 – Melbourne, VIC

Service Number: 1427            view online service record

26 Donald Street
Footscray, VIC

Next of Kin:
John Olson (father)
26 Donald Street
Footscray, VIC

Embarkation Details:
Date: Friday, 10 November 1916
Ship: HMAT Ascanius A11
Port: Melbourne, VIC
Unit: 29th Infantry Battalion – 1st Reinforcements

DOD: Friday, 6 September 1918
Place: Military Hospital, Basra

Charles Olson in France in 1917. Courtesy Chris Upton.

Sergeant, 29 Infantry, died of disease 6 September, 1918, Mesopotamia, aged 27, commemorated Tehran War Cemetery, Mesopotamia.

Parents: John and Mrs Hannah OLSON, born Port Melbourne, educated St Monica’s Roman Catholic?. He enlisted as a 25-year-old blacksmith with his mother in Footscray as next of kin. Olson was probably unique in our archive as the only Australian serviceman to die in Persia (Mesopotamia). After serving at Gallipoli and in Palestine, Olson was selected early in 1918 to serve with the special 350-strong combined Allied unit Dunsterforce (so-called as it was led by a British office, Major Dunsterville) to train and organise native tribesmen into a coherent fighting force to replace Russian forces based in Armenia. He died while in the Ramadan Military Hospital from malaria and coincidentally, Dunsterforce was disbanded just a few days later without suffering any fatalities in action, but two other Australians died from disease while part of the unit; 7675, Sergeant Cecil Frederick ALLEN (Mosman, NSW), and 1180, Sergeant Wilfred DAVIS (Kensington, NSW). Olson’s mother nominated Footscray as her late son’s closest place of association.

Additional research by Brian Membrey


  • Brian Membrey
    Posted February 19, 2017 8.38 am 0Likes

    “Sgt. Olson was admitted to hospital on the evening of 5.9.18 suffering from malaria. It was not to all appearances specially severe itself and when seen a short time after admission in bed, he said he was quite comfortable. He was given the usual remedies. He was next seen at about 11 p.m. on the M.O.’s night round and was sleeping. Nothing special had been noted by the orderly on duty. At 6 a.m. next morning, the M.O. was sent for in a hurry by the orderly, who said Sgt. Olson was taken bad. The M.O. at once went to the ward and Sgt Olson very collapsed and in spite of all that was done – stimulants, injections, etc., he became unconscious and died without recovering consciousness. His death was due to a sudden clot on the brain due to the malaria having reached there. His death was painless …” (Major J.H.W. Frobisher, R.A.M.S., Kasvin, Persia)

    • chris upton
      Posted April 24, 2019 10.28 am 0Likes

      he was my great uncle i have a portrait of him if you want to post it

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