Thursday, 1 September 2016

Charles Fitzhenry of the 9th Battalion AIF - a search for living decendants

I was very touched to receive this essay as a comment to our post about Charles Fitzhenry of the 9th Battalion AIF and the graffiti he left in the caves in Naours.
It was written by Lucie Greff, aged 13, who wrote it as part of her school project, and I thought it was so good that it merited a post of its own. 
Lucie would like to get in touch with a member of Charles' family, so please do contact her by leaving a comment below.

Hello !
My name is Lucie, I live in France (Somme).I’m 13 years old. I live near Naours and its Cave. With my college, I have a project called “Soldats Voyageurs”. The project is about the Australians during the 1st world war. We are 20 in this club and we are all volunteers. I must take a photo about an Australian’s graffiti. Found in Naours’ caves. I have 2 soldiers’ name: Alister Ross (probably known by Charles Edward Fitzhenry if they were not friends) and Charles Edward Fitzhenry/William Doyle. My mission is a lot of information, search all the things about him during the war and contact a person from their family. My project won 2 prizes, one in France (3rd prize) and in Australia (1st prize (Sadlier Stokes)).

I saw an article about Charles’ tree, I was very interested. I have taken 2 graffitis in photos written by Charles, one with his real name and another with William Doyle.
Charles’ history:
Charles was born the 23rd of February 1888 in Casino, near Lismore, Australia. His father was Michael Herbert (he died before the war) and his mother was Elizabeth Doyle/Fitzhenry. He had many sisters and brothers who had wives and husbands. Charles was Roman Catholic. Physically, he had dark hair, he was suntanned or had a black skin and he had bluish eyes.
Before the war, Charles worked for the Australian Naval Force for 3 years. His service number was the 865. He was an ordinary seaman. He served the ANF only 3 years because he was discharged.
After that, he was shearer and lost his little finger on his hand.
The 21st of September 1914, Charles joined the army known as William Doyle, the reasons of its modifications are unknown. Doyle was his grand-mother’s family name. His service number was the 1126. He went to the 9th Infantry (like Alister, my second soldier who moved to Lismore with his brother).
During the war, Charles was sick, but, it wasn’t serious. Charles fled the trenches during the New Year and was punished. He was in captivity for 168 hours and wasn’t paid for 20 days. But, the 12nd of august 1918, Charles was wounded at his head and was unconscious. His friend, called Mister Carr, saw Charles and helped him. Charles was admitted to a very big Australian hospital but stayed unconscious and died the 21st August 1918. He hadn’t got any children. I’ll go to Le TrĂ©port to see Charles’ tomb and take photos.
If anybody has more information, can he or she write a comment please? And, of course, can I contact one person in his family?
Many thanks with advance,


Sources: national archives of Australia, Australian War Memorial and your blog.

Why not subscribe to this blog and get the updates sent to your inbox? Or send us an email about your Fitz(-)henry family links.


  1. Well Charles was my great-grandfather's first cousin. It seems Lucie has better information than I have seen. It is really great to see young French people interested in our shared history. Bon travail!

  2. Dear Lucie
    Please send your e-mail address to so I can pass on any contact emails I may get for you.
    Editor of The Fitzhenry Family History Blog