Stories of Remembrance

Army, Second World War (1939-45)Corporal Charles Reginald McCallum DCM,

…when the [Bren gun] magazine ran out… he swung the Thompson forward with his left hand and sprayed the advancing enemy, checking them while he placed a full magazine in the Bren with his right hand… [he] continued firing until all the troops in the Platoon area were clear...

On 29 August 1942 the Victorian 2/14th Infantry Battalion was fighting the Japanese at Isurava on the Kokoda Track. The number of oncoming enemy soldiers grew too great and 12 Platoon, B Company was forced
to withdraw. Although wounded, Charles McCallum (1907–42) stood his ground, armed with a Bren gun in his right hand and a Thompson sub-machine gun in his left.

…when the [Bren gun] magazine ran out… he swung the Thompson forward with his left hand and sprayed the advancing enemy, checking them while he placed a full magazine in the Bren with his right hand… [he] continued firing until all the troops in the Platoon area were clear...

Citation for Private Charlie McCallum DCM

…At all times in action, McCallum was admirably calm and steady. On this occasion his utter disregard for his own safety and his example of devotion to duty and magnificent courage was an inspiration to all our troops in the area. His gallant stand and the number of casualties he alone inflicted checked the enemy’s advance and allowed the withdrawal to proceed unhindered and without loss.

Citation for Private Charlie McCallum, DCM
 

When McCallum left the fray his comrades counted the bodies of 40 dead Japanese. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his valour. Charles McCallum was killed in action at Brigade Hill a week later on 8 September 1942. His mother carried his medals in her handbag for the rest of her life.
 

This Story of Remembrance was compiled through the research of the Exhibitions and Collections team at the Shrine of Remembrance.

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