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Charles Williams

Portrait of Stoker Charles Williams DSM. FL20419761  Archives New Zealand. Image may be subject to copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Stoker Charles Williams DSM. FL20419761 Archives New Zealand. Image may be subject to c …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Charles AWMM
  • Surname
    Williams AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • WWI K27358 AWMM
    • ANF349 Public - Keith - Researcher - 9 November 2019 - ANF Engagement and Service Records 1903-1911
    • 2/358 RNR(NZ) Public - Keith - Researcher - 9 November 2019 - Ship action on the night of 20/21 April 1917
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    22 June 1881 AWMM LytteltonChristchurch AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
    Merchant Seaman Public - Keith - Researcher - 12 November 2019 - The S.S. Tainui Disaster

    'Williams entered the merchant service on a schooner engaged in the New Zealand trade in 1897, when 16 years of age. Shortly after leaving school at Lyttelton he received his first naval training, as a member of the New Zealand Naval Reserve.. In 1909 Williams received his discharge from the Navy [after 5 years service], and a year later he went to Antarctica in the Terra Nova.'
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Father: John Henry Williams
    403 Tuam Street, Linwood, Christchurch Public - Keith - Researcher - 12 November 2019 - base records file
    Sheet 12 of 19
  • Relationship status
    Single Public - Keith - Researcher - 12 November 2019 - base records file
    Sheet 12 of 19


Wars and conflicts

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    • WW1 1 May 1915 AWMM
    • 17 August 1904 Public - Keith - Researcher - 12 November 2019 - ANF Engagement and Service Records

      5 year engagement
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Accidental Death, Cause of Death AWMM
    Drowned at sea during the SS Tainui disaster, 1919 AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Having joined ther Royal Navy in the early 1900s, Charles Williams of Canterbury was a member of the ship's company of Terra Nova during Captain Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1910. When war broke out in 1914, Williams was originally destined for the 4th Reinforcements of NZEF, until he received a letter from Commander Evans, who had been his captain on the Terra Nova, recommending he join the NZ section of the Royal Naval Reserve Leaving New Zealand on the SS Ruahine, he arrived in the UK and joined the Navy in May 1915.

    He saw much action. In September 1915 cruiser HMS Attentive became one of the first naval casualties to aerial bombing, and on 29 January 1916 Williams survived the mining of destroyer HMS Viking. For rescuing casualties during a cutlass fight on HMS Broke, which had been boarded during an action against German destroyers on the night of the 20th April, 1917, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Having survived the war, he returned to Christchurch in June 1919, resuming his sea-going career in the waters around New Zealand. Just three months later he was killed in the sinking of the SS Tainui on 16th September 1919. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    16 September 1919 AWMM
    Age 38 AWMM
    CanterburyNew Zealand AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Bromley Cemetery AWMM Block 35 Plot 33 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Leave a tribute or memory of Charles Williams

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  • Charles Williams is my Great Grandmothers brother. She was the only surviving family member to have children leading to our existence. Charles died at sea. I probably hold the only photo of him in his navy uniform donning his Polar Medal and Bravery medal. This photo I had repaired and reprinted. His brother Andrew Frank Sylvester Williams also died serving as a Training Corporal Trentham and now buried at Karori cemetery of whom I have photo's.
    Public - Victor James - Other relative - 10 January 2020

Related Serviceperson



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Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
10 January 2020Victor JamesFeilding NZOther relative
12 November 2019KeithLondonResearcher

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