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Charles Alfred Gage and his brother Christopher Henry Gage were born in Eugowra to Christopher Henry Gage (Snr) and his wife Mary (nee Sloane). They were two of nine known Aboriginal servicemen from the Orange area, and they were both killed in action.
24 year old Charles was working as a labourer in Eugowra when he enlisted in March 1916. He spent a month in camp at Bathurst before joining the 30th Battalion at Kiama in April 1916. Private Gage embarked in Sydney in August that year, arriving in England in late September.
Gage joined the 56th Battalion in France in November 1916 and was killed just three weeks later. Details of his death are sketchy, and he has no known grave. According to fellow soldier, Private Frank Reid, their unit was marching into the firing line on the night of 3 December when a shell burst and killed a number of men, among them Gage. Charles’ older brother, Christopher, was killed in action less than a year later, in September 1917.
In January 1918 the Forbes Advocate reported that Charles’ father had been charged with being “of unsound mind”, and was to be admitted to Parramatta Mental Hospital. A witness reported that “Gage’s two son’s had been killed in the war, and ever since then he had not been the same man.”
Gage was still an inmate of the hospital in May 1922, when Charles’ British War Medal and Victory Medal were issued to his mother, Mary.
Image courtesy Forbes Advocate