Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

A Family's Search for Answers

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

A Family's Search for Answers

Article excerpt

Sophie Lester


MANY of the stories from Gallipoli are shrouded in mystery, as men went off to war never to return home.

But one story is more mysterious than most.

The disappearance of Australian Trooper Charles William Stuart Stanley brought a family from England to Queensland seeking the truth.

Charles' granddaughter, Sandra McKay, grew up in Queensland after her family immigrated to Dalby in 1952.

"He was quite the mystery man - he was my grandfather and fought in the First World War," Mrs McKay said.

"He was injured in Gallipoli and France, and suffered lapses of memory from shell shock."

"Even though he was Australian, he ended up in England and married my grandmother in 1918."

An excerpt from Charles Stanley's diary recounts how the Australian trooper had been injured:

"I neither heard the shell or saw it but sitting there in the sap it seemed to rear up in a fearful roar and I remembered nothing else till I found myself on the boat at Malta."

"What actually took place I got from trooper L Goldring, 2nd Light Horse who was sent with the same boat to Malta, wounded in the knee.

"I got from this man the facts that while we were having our meal the shell came over and blew up the sap burying us all and killed Troopers Dwyer, Wilson & Wallace, wounded Lance Corporal Sharpe and Trooper Riddell."

Residing in Toowoomba, Charles Stanley worked as a station hand droving cattle before serving in the 2nd lighthorse regiment.

Following the war he sought to find work in Canada, leaving his family behind, never to be seen again.

"We presumed he had been lost in a snowstorm," Mrs McKay said of her grandfather.

"Our family had thought that maybe he had returned to Australia from his injuries affecting his memory."

In their search to find him, Charles Stanley's family have pored over countless records which have only led to more questions.

"We think he was born in Toowoomba in 1890, but there's no record of his birth," Mrs McKay said. …

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