Friday, 13 September 2013

Corporal Charles James Kelynack

Group portrait of Brigadier General H J Bessell-Browne, Commander Royal Artillery (CRA), and officers of the 13th Brigade, Australian Field Artillery.
Second row: Capt C J Kelynack, 5th Divisional Signals, DAHQ, 2nd from right. 
Photo taken 5 November 1918 on the Western Front.

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial, ID # E03695

Corporal Charles James Kelynack, SERN 17, 1st Divisional Signal Company, was one of the early Coburg volunteers, enlisting on 19 August 1914. He lived in Shaftesbury Street, Moreland with his father Thomas, a well-known football writer for the Herald known as ‘Kickero’, and his mother Catherine (nee Smith). His younger brother Philip also served, as a newly qualified veterinary surgeon. In 1916, Charles was promoted to Lieutenant then Captain and in 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross. In January 1919, he married in London, to Polish artist Dorota Kucembianka (known in the art world as Dora Bianka). The marriage must have failed, because in April 1919 her address is given as Paris and in September that year Charles came back to Australia alone. In 1931, Dora married Pierre Thomazi. She died in France in 1979 aged 84. Charles, an accountant, continued to live in Coburg, where he died in 1950, aged 55.

Sources: Information from his dossier, held at the National Archives of Australia and available online; English marriage index, March quarter 1919, St Martin, London, 1a 1112; English marriage index, September quarter 1931, Marylebone, Middlesex, 1a 1666; Victorian death, 1950/11061; Argus, 19 November 1936, p.12.

Before enlistment, Charles Kelynack was an employee of the Commonwealth Government Cordite Factory, Maribyrnong, and at a farewell by the staff, he was presented with an inscribed gold watch ‘in admiration of his spirit in going to the war.’

Mrs Waxman, wife of Cr Joseph Waxman of Brunswick, had knitted him a Balaclava helmet and presented it to him on the night. The Waxman’s son Ernest enlisted the following year. I wonder whether his mother knitted him a Balaclava, too? (Source: Brunswick and Coburg Star, 28 August 1914, p.2)

Image courtesy Lenore Frost.

For more information on the Honour Board and the staff who volunteered, see the Cordite Factory Honour Board entry in the Empire Call website. 

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