Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
1744 Private Signaller Charles Blake Locarnini - Bairnsdale/Lindenow Died of illness 20 February 1917
Charles Locarnini, who was born in Bairnsdale in 1897 was the first child born to Edward and Florence Locarnini with Dorothy, Arthur, Addie and George in the following years. The family were well known in the Lindenow area and were in Glen Wills in 1907. By the time Charlie enlisted in May 1915 he had served in cadets and the family were living at Briagolong. It was from Briagolong that she gave her consent for Charlie to join. By July Charlie was on the Demosthenes and was deployed to Gallipoli with the British Expeditionary Forces on 30 August surviving relatively unscathed for the fifteen weeks until the evacuation in December. By March 1916 he was in France and two months later was hospitalised and convalesced for another two months with a middle ear infection re-joining his unit at the end of July. In the middle of the European winter he contracted bronchitis in November. Over the next two months he wrote home regularly: France, Dec. 15. This is an up and down life. We are not always in themud. At present we are having a few days leave, and are near a large town. Leave is granted, and we forget we are at war. So for once we we had a dinner. We had soup, rabbit, fowl, fruit (tinned) and apple pie (not as good as you make, mum). Ended with cake, and the sergeant gave a good toast. This will do for our Christmas dinner. Dec. 30. Well, I’ve seen another Christmas eve through on this game - getting quite used to it. We moved into the line again on Christmas eve, and I spent the time in a dugout, not in the best of spirits, thinking how you were enjoying Christmastime. It was only a fit of the blues, so after a while I laughed and thought what a fool I was to worry. So I took out all my photos and had a look at them, and read my old letters. … Jan. 10. We have lately seen Ypres (or “Heaps,” as it is sometimes pronounced), and it is indeed ‘heaps’ of ruins. Well, I am now in a place where they don’t throw iron foundries at you - I’m going to school again to go through a course of signalling; we have it once a year (hope I won’t have another). We’ve been snowballing just like a lot of kids. Jan. 17. I haven’t received your parcel yet. If it comes while I’m away from the line it will fall into good hands. The boys won’t be able to send it back to me, too many hands to go through. They can’t carry it, so they’ll ‘rat’ it, as we do all the others in our sections. As I told you before, they are a good crowd - we are like brothers. They will eat all that can be eaten, and, carry anything that is personal.  On 13 February, this popular and respected nineteen-year-old, was admitted to the 45th Casualty Clearing Station hospital with pneumonia. Regarded as open-hearted and steady by those he served with, Charlie died a week later from his condition and was buried at Dernacourt Cemetery, France and is remembered on the Fernbank and Maffra honour rolls. Too young to serve in WW1, Charlie’s little brother, George, served with the 2nd AIF in WW2 and died in New Guinea on 9 July 1945.
….. we’ve been snowballing just like a lot of kids
We have been unable to locate a photograph of Private Signaller Charles Locarnini, if you know of one, please make contact. Our group would appreciate your assistance.