Australian World War 1 Army Identity Disc – C.E.J. Whiteley 10844

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Shown is an unofficial Australian World War 1 identity disc fashioned from a British penny. It is holed and the reverse has been skimmed off. Stamped into the reverse is:

The stamping is poorly done with several mis-entered numbers being obliterated by over-stamping.

Charles Elliott James Whiteley, service number 10844, was 39 years old when he enlisted in the first AIF on 3 August 1915. His next of kin was listed as his wife, Edith who lived on 31 Fleet Street in Fitzroy, Victoria. At time of enlistment he was serving with a Victorian garrison brigade and continued to serve with them until early 1916 and finally shipped out of Australia in January of that year arriving in Egypt later that month. In the next three months he served variously with the 1st Divisional Ammunition Column, the 25th Howitzer Brigade, the 24th Battery, and finally the 21st Field Artillery Brigade in April 1916.

His service record is quite lengthy and restricted to various illnesses, AWL incidents, and being wounded in action. Charles was found AWL several times and received field punishment or forfeiture of pay each time. One of the AWL incidents found him drunk outside the boundary of the French camp he was posted in! In August 1917 he was gassed and then two months later appears to have been wounded in the right arm and left leg by shrapnel. The following 5 months saw him in and out of various hospitals and in March 1918 he was posted to a pioneer training battalion. Just two months later he was returned to Australia on the HMAT Essex and was medically discharged in Australia in August suffering from Myalgia.

Little trace of Whiteley can be found after the war. He divorced his wife Edith in 1926 and died sometime in 1943. Interestingly just a year after the war ended notorious Australian gangster, Squizzy Taylor seems to have frequented Whiteley’s 31 Fleet Street address. In 1919 Taylor fired three bullets into the house (which contained an illegal bar) and injured three people. It’s not known if C.E.J. Whiteley still lived on the premises at that point.

Coin Information

Reference Number:c032401


C.E.J. Whiteley Service Record – Accessed 29 March 2024
Fitzroy Shooting Affairs – The Argus, 28 August 1919, Page 5 – Accessed 29 March 2024
Divorce Court – The Argus, 3 September 1926, Page 16 – Accessed 29 March 2024
Queensland Family Trees – Accessed 29 March 2024

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