The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Captain (later Lieutenant Colonel MID) Charles Lee

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: Charles Arthur Lee

Ancestor's date of birth: 16/02/1874

Ancestor's date of death: 05/11/1918

Cause of Death: Shell shock

Service Number: 37

Colony or State of enlistment: NSW, Place of Enlistment: Sydney

Unit: Private/Corporal 1st NSW Mounted Rifles 25/10/99; Lieutenant 1st NSWMR 10/2/00; Captain 2nd NSWMR 1/3/01; Captain 3rd NSW Imperial Bushmen 1/5/02

Rank attained in Boer War: CAPT, Date Effective: 01/03/1901

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): LTCOL, Date Effective: 24/01/1917

Murray Page: 37, 62, 110

Contingent: First and Fifth New South Wales.

Ship: Aberdeen, Date of Sailing: 04/11/1899

Memorial details: Detail not provided

Decorations: QSA with 4 clasps, KSA with 2 clasps. 1914/15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal. Mention in Despatches (MID) twice.

Personal Characteristics: Height 182 cm, Weight 62 kg. Charles Arthur Lee and Major (later Major General) George Leonard Lee Officer Commanding the New South Wales Lancer Squadron in South Africa were first cousins with the Grandfather of both being Benjamin Lee of Parramatta who fought with the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular Wars.

Reasons to go and fight: Lieutenant in the local militia but as all the officer positions were taken he joined initially as a private. The second son of the Hon Charles Alfred Lee (MLA for Tenterfield from 1884 - 1920). Benjamin Lee, the grand father of Charles Arthur Lee was a pioneer of Parrammatta and veteran of the Peninsula War (1807-1814) under the Duke of Wellington.

Details of service in war: Present for Cronje surrender at Paardeburg Contacted enteric at Bloemfontein and on recovery repatriated for a time to England where he became a guest of the Duke of York, later King Edward V11. Was the first Australian officer to be given this honor. Subsequently returned to active duty in South Africa until peace was declared Capt CA Lee became the brother-in-law to Capt HG Carstairs (married Lee's sister) who served with the 3rd Victorian Bush Contingent and 5th Victorian Bush Contingent. No connection is known prior to the Boer war.

Service and life after the Boer War: Returned to Australia following the Boer war for a short period before taking up a position with a gold mining company in South Africa for several years, and subsequently returned to Stanthorpe Queensland as owner of a tin dredging operation At the outbreak of WW1 Captain Lee joined the AIF (2/11/1914) Captain in the 11th Light Horse Regiment and promoted Major (1/5/15). His Squadron was absorbed into 5th Light Horse (15/10/1915) for the Gallipoli campaign. According to newspaper reports at the time of his passing(1918)he was in charge of the Lone Pine trenches at Gallipoli and on evacuation, swam out to a boat with the last eight men to leave. Following the Gallipoli campaign the 11th Light horse was reformed and Lee transfered back (22/2/16) and was present at Beersheba and Jarusalem. He was subsequently posted to 4th Australian Camel regiment (9/9/16). Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (24/1/1917) he was given command of the 4th (ANZAC) Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps until returning to Australia after illness in December 1917. Lieutenant Colonel CA Lee was twice mentioned in despatches.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Susan Lee Norman
Relationship to Ancestor: great niece


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields