ANZAC Gallipoli Special Part 3 - Charles Begg, New Zealand

Charles Begg, New Zealand's most decorated member of the Medical Corps during the First World War was born in Dunedin in September of 1879. He attended Kaikorai School and Otago Boys' High School before studying medicine at the University of Otago Medical School in 1898.

Begg's actions at Gallipoli undoubtedly saved the lives of hundreds of men as the workload after the assault on Chunuk Bair in early August of 1915 became almost impossible to cope with as hundreds of men lay unprotected on the beach. Begg appealed directly to his superiors and as such, infantry units arrived to help the exhausted stretcher bearers and the navy resumed its barge transport for the wounded. By 13 August the beach had been cleared with over 15,000 wounded ANZACS treated at his dressing station.

When the allied dressing station was destroyed by Turkish artillery, Begg calmly picked up and moved along the beach to set up again from scratch

Begg went on to serve on the Western Front and in October 1916 he became deputy director of medical services II ANZAC Corps. By mid 1918 Charles Begg was given the added responsibility of caring for wounded from the French Fifth Army. For this he was honoured with the highest order of the Croix de Guerre by the French president. He received numerous other honours for his service, including Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB), Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG). He was also Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD) on three separate occasions.

At the end of November 1918 Charles Begg returned to London as director of medical services. He was reunited with his wife and sons but it was to be a brief reunion. He developed influenza in January and died from acute pneumonia on 2 February 1919. He was buried with full military honours in Walton-on-Thames three days later.

LEST WE FORGET

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