After Charlie was discharged at Rotterdam from the Netherlands
Navy, he took a little rest and then
went back to sea on British ships.
His first job was aboard
the Royal Mail Lines passenger liner
MV Highland Chieftain.
The 14,232-ton Highland Chieftain
had served during the war as a troopship and was
now kept very busy bringing the
troops back home.
Charlie remained aboard her, with only a
small break, until the end of October 1947. His next vessel
in December of that year was the
SS Beresina, and
Charlie served on her until April 1948. After
he left Beresina,
Charlie joined the crew of the Hain Steamship Company freighter,
MV Trevanion. The Hain fleet
which was based in Cardiff, Wales,
was owned by the famous passenger liner company, P & O.
aboard Trevanion until August 1948. His last ship
was the Elder Dempster Line's freighter
SS Biafra and Charlie stayed
with her until
the end of 1949. By that time Charlie had met the Lovely Lady who
was to become his wife, Doris,
and he left the sea to begin a career ashore.
This photo shows Charlie and the Bosun of
enjoying some free time in the
In 1956 Charlie and Doris and their little daughter,
emigrated to Australia. They settled in the
city of Adelaide,
their second daughter, Janet,
was born in 1959.
Unfortunately, Charlie's parents became very ill, and
in order to care for them, he had to uproot his family
and move them
temporarily back to England in 1962.
The "temporary" visit stretched into years; Susan and Janet
grew up and returned to Australia, and finally in August 1987
Charlie and Doris were able to join them.
near the beautiful city of
Before he left England Charlie had been receiving a small disability
pension for health problems which dated back to his war service.
The pension was discontinued when he moved
back to Australia, so he
decided to try his luck again.
Since he was a naturalized Australian citizen, Charlie
department of Veterans Affairs first,
but there he was told that because he was born in
England, he was Britain's
Next he contacted a Liason Officer for the British within
As luck would have it, the Liason Officer was an ex-army
officer with little knowledge or appreciation of the
key role played
by the Merchant Navy in the war.
Charlie presented the man with as much information as he
get a hold of, but when the Liason Officer
was told that old American hospital records no longer
existed, he refused to pursue the case any further.
After reaching that second dead end, Charlie
decided to try the government of the
Netherlands. He eventually
found himself in the office of the
Dutch Consul in
Brisbane, where he was unceremoniously handed a
Dutch Star and Bar war medal, and then
bluntly told that "oldies" like him were "just a nuisance",
nowadays, and certainly the Netherlands did not want anything
more to do with him!
Charlie was shocked by the man's rudeness, but he
knew from his own experience with some Dutch ladies
on the Internet
who had tracked down information for him,
that the majority of Dutch citizens
appreciated what the Allies had done in World War Two.
With that in mind, he decided to appeal
directly to the Dutch monarchy,
and wrote directly to Queen Beatrix.
When there was no reply, Charlie wrote a second letter, but
recieved a reply to that one either.
Charlie and Doris
Inspite of all these setbacks,
Charlie never gave up his quest for justice.
He always hoped that one day his service, and that
of all other Allied Merchant Seamen Veterans whose
contributions had been overlooked,
would be properly recognized and compensated.
During the too short time that I knew Charlie, his health problems
steadily worsened, but he stubbornly refused
to give in to his illnesses. Again and again,
Charlie amazed his doctors
by surviving against the odds.
But, finally, Charlie's gallant heart could take no more and
after a valiant last battle
he died on October 1st, 2001 at the age of 77.
Charlie was a very special person and I will always
treasure our friendship.
October 2nd, 2001
PLEASE VISIT Charlie's Companion Pages: