Charles Victor Raymond Stanaway 1890 – 1916

Charles was born 21 September 1890 (birth certificate number 1890/12832) in Aratapu in the northern Kaipara region. His birth was registered in Helensville.

L. Corp Charles Stanaway - Tides of Time.

L. Corp Charles Stanaway – Tides of Time.

We do not have any information on his child-hood, no doubt it was similar to his older siblings.

The first record we have on Charles is that on 5 May 1909, aged 19, Charles marries Millicent Mildred (Lilly or Millie) Featherstone (aged about 17), in Auckland. (Marriage Certificate unknown).

Millicent is the daughter of James Featherstone, a Contractor, and Elizabeth Corbett and was the sister of Muriel Featherstone who marries Charles’ brother Montrose. She was born in New Zealand about 1892.

The next series of records we have on Charles is perhaps a period he and his young wife most probably regretted. On 27 November 1911 the New Zealand reports that both Charles and his Millicent were somewhat off the rails, the article reads;

“VALUELESS CHEQUES – AN ADVENTUROUS COUPLE – SHOPKEEPERS VICTIMISED – MAN AND WOMAN ARRESTED – The adventures of a young man and his wife have been engaging the attention of the police for some time past. It is alleged that the couple have been pawing valueless cheques, taking unconsidered trifles from boarding houses, and flitting from hotel without paying their board. .

Their doings first came to the notice of the police at the end of August. They stayed, it is said, for a day at a boarding house in Carlton Gore Road. At this house a nurse was lodging, and kept all her valuables in a dressing-case. The nurse came home one evening, and found that the dressing-case, containing jewellery and other articles, to the value of £10 was missing, and that the interesting couple had also disappeared. Next day the dressing-case was discovered by the police in a pawnshop.

The couple were then, lost sight of for nearly three months. The next time they were, heard of they were staying, it is alleged, a week or two ago, in a house off Symonds Street, under an assumed name.” Here they stayed, for nearly a week, and on leaving, it is stated that they took with them various articles as souvenirs of their visit, and also forgot to pay for their board and lodging.

Then they appeared at Papakura, where, it is stated, they stayed under a new name at the chief hotel in the district. Here, according to the police information, they launched out into the valueless cheque business. Obtaining three blank cheques from a storekeeper, it is alleged that they took a trip to Clevedon, and got a pair of breeches from a storekeeper there, giving him a cheque filled in for a much larger amount than the cost of the breeches, the difference being handed to the purchasers.

Next they induced a Papakura land agent to drive them all round the country in search of a desirable homestead, and finally picked on a farm that would suit them to a nicety. Next day they left Papakura, and again, it is alleged, forgot to pay for their board.

Onehunga was the next place to be visited, and the couple stayed at a hotel there, borrowed a buggy from the proprietor, and took several trips to the country districts. On one of these occasions they went to Otahuhu, and it is alleged bought a coat from a tailor there, paid for it with another cheque, and duly received the change, at the same time ordering more stuff to be sent to an address in Newmarket.

They duly visited Newmarket, and it is alleged that at a store there a lawn-mower was bought on behalf of a well-known person in Orakei, the third cheque, filled in for a fairly large amount, being tendered as payment. This cheque purported to be signed by the Orakei resident.

The supply of blank; cheques was now exhausted, but it is stated that the couple obtained a fresh supply from a grocer in Parnell, and that these were filled in for much larger amounts than the others. One of the cheques, it is alleged, was cashed by a storekeeper at Onehunga—where another lawnmower was ordered —and another at Ellerslie.

Detective Halk has been in pursuit of the enterprising couple, and after great trouble and search located the persons who are alleged to be the principals in the adventures mentioned, at the Manukau Hotel, Onehunga, where, with the assistance of Constable Smith, he arrested them late on Friday night.

The names of the persons arrested are Charles Victor Raymond Stanaway, 26 years old, a quarter-caste Maori, and his wife, Mildred Stanaway. They were charged at the Police Court, on Saturday, with the theft from the dwelling of Mrs. E. Scott, on July or August last, of a dressing case valued at £5 5s, the property of Kate G. Heenan, and also with forging a cheque for £6 2s, purporting to be signed by F. Coates, and causing Ellen Robertson to act upon it as if it were genuine.

Chief-Detective Marsack asked for a remand, until December 1. There would, he paid, probably be several other charges, but the accused had been arrested only a few hours before, and the police needed time to go into the matter.

Stanaway asked for bail, saying he had never previously been before a court, and that he came from the Northern Wairoa.

A remand as asked for was granted. Bail was fixed for each accused at a personal recognisance of £100, and two sure ties of £50 each, the accused also to report daily to the police.”

The New Zealand Herald, 2 December 1911, goes on to state;

“A young and smart-looking couple named Charles Victor Raymond Stanaway and Mildred Stanaway, who have victimised several boarding-housekeepers and tradesmen in the Auckland district, pleaded guilty in the Police Court yesterday to seven charges of theft and forgery and uttering. They were committed for sentence to the Supreme Court by Mr E C Cutten, SM. The evidence went to show that after stealing articles from houses in Carlton Gore Road and Mount Street in August, they cashed forged cheques at shops in the suburbs during November, driving round in a horse and trap, procured in Papakura. The amounts on the cheques uttered ranged from (pounds) 6 to (pounds) 10.”

The conclusion was recorded in the New Zealand Herald, 16 December 1911, which reads;

“A young woman named Mildred Stanaway, who, with her husband, Charles Victor Raymond Stanaway, had been convicted upon seven charges of theft and forgery, was presented for sentence. Her mother-in-law and married sister appeared and said they would assist her to get something to do until her husband, who received a sentence of one year’s imprisonment and two years’ detention for reformative treatment, was released. She was ordered to come up for sentence when called upon, and discharged.”

So Charles is sent away, and Mildred stays with her mother-in-law which at this time would have been 69 Symonds Street, Auckland.

The next mention we have of Charles from Poverty Bay Herald, 12 February 1913 which reads;

“On Monday morning two prisoners Charles Victor Raymond Stanaway and Walter James Ross escaped from the tree plantation camp at Kaingaroa Plains, being recaptured by Maoris last night. On being challenged, both ran away, and one of the Maoris fired, the rifle bullet lodging in Ross’ buttock. The injury is slight.”

On 16 November 1915, Charles enlists in the NZEF – 10th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company, he states his occupation as a carpenter, and his address as 69 Symonds Street, Auckland. He is 5 feet 11 inches, 12 pounds, complexion dark, eyes grey, hair dark brown.

Charles was promoted to Lance Corporal on 11 December 1915, he then embarked on 4 March 1916, the troop ship arrived in Suez, Egypt on 10 April 1916. He then left Port Said on 13 April 1916 and arrived in the south of France on 24 April 1916. Charles Stanaway WW1 Records

Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial, France

Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial, France

By this time he must have received word from Millicent that she was pregnant and that he would soon be a father, one could only imagine the range of emotions he must have been going through with this news. He joined his unit on the front on 11 July 1916 just before one of the major battles on the western front, the Battle of the Somme.

During the New Zealand troops first engagements of this battle Charles is wounded and subsequently dies of these wounds, the date was 26 September 1916, sadly shortly after his 27th birthday.

His name appears on the stone wall at the Caterpillar Valley WW1 Cemetery (Death Certificate number 1918/24388).

Memorial Close up - Caterpillar Valley France.

Memorial Close up – Caterpillar Valley France.

The New Zealand Herald 9 November 1916 had a notice of his death which read;

“Stanaway – On September 26, died from wounds in France. Lance Corporal Charles Stanaway, dearly beloved husband of Millicent Stanaway, and sixth son of Susan and the late William Stanaway, of 69 Symonds Street, aged 26.”

Again but in the Auckland Star on 17 November 1916, this time with his portrait;

“Lance Corporal Chas Stanaway, who died of wounds. His wife resides in Symonds Street.”

In December 1916, approximately 3 months after his death, his son is born and named Charles we can only assume after his late father.

In the New Zealand Herald 5 September 1917, he appears in an article with his brothers Alfred and Alexander;

“Private Alfred Stanaway, previously reported missing, now reported wounded in left knee and prisoner of war in Lumburg, Alahu, Germany, was employed by the Auckland Racing Club prior to enlistment. He had also served in the South African war. His brother, Lance Corporal Charles Stanaway, died of wounds at the Somme. He also has another brother on active service. All three are married.”

Charles appears in the Auckland Star 26 September 1917 in a large “In Memoriam” inserted by his mother sisters and brothers, it reads as follows;

“In fond and loving memory of our dear son and brother, lance Corporal Charles Stanaway, died of wounds in the Battle of the Somme, France, September 26, 1916, aged 27 years.

Deeply regretted. Nameless his grave on a battlefield gory, Only a cross over a mound of brown earth, Dead, in the pride of his youth and his glory, far from his home and the land of his birth. None near to morn him, save willows that weeping. Bend over his grave, where the leaves in the fall, Cover a mound where a soldier lies sleeping, Waiting to answer his final roll call.

In fond and loving memory of my dear brother, Lance Corporal Charles Stanaway, died of wounds in France, in the Battle of the Somme, September 26, 1916, aged 27 years. In a distant land he lies, At rest in a soldier’s grave, His battle fought, his name enrolled, on the scroll of the deathless brave.”

Charles appears in numerous “In Memoriam” inserted by his parents, brother and sisters, his death by all accounts hits the family hard, even though they had lost other siblings, we suspect that Charles may have been a popular member and so sorely missed. In the Auckland Star on 26 September 1918 there were a series of notices – including one from his brother Albert (Bert) in Switzerland.

Auckland Star 26 September 1918

Auckland Star 26 September 1918

Millicent remarries and has five children with her new husband, the son, Charles adopts his stepfather’ surname, and they live in Takanini, Auckland.


4 thoughts on “Charles Victor Raymond Stanaway 1890 – 1916

  1. Pingback: Mistry Boy Photo Bomb – 1905 | Captain John James Stanaway 1813 – 1874

  2. Bradley Masters

    I added great Granddad to my family tree, and I noticed that his burial records were interesting…
    It said he was buried in Albert, a commune not to far from Somme, was he interned in a mass grave amongst the unidentified?, or did something else happen?, I’m asking coz his name appears in Caterpillar valley, but not his body.
    Kind Regards.


    1. gregorypaulskinner Post author

      You might be onto something there Bradley
      I have had a quick look at the Albert Communal Cemetery Extension on line – It is located in Albert a small town on the Somme. In September 1916 it was used by the Field Ambulances. There are 862 First World War casualties of those 12 are unidentified (it appears some were destroyed by shell fire by the ongoing conflict and the town changed hands with the Germans a couple of times).
      It could be possible that Charles was evacuated there after being wounded and it was there where he died of his injuries’ – that being the case he could well have been buried there also – He does not appear on the list of known soldiers there but he could be one of the unidentified?

      I had simply assumed that he was one of the many seen wounded and later never to have been unrecovered, but left where they fell.

      Can I get you to send me a copy of the burial records you mention – I do know there is a UK based organization who are charged with identifying unidentified solders from WW1 – with DNA from a close relative they have been able to confirm the identities of many of these unidentified solders and held re-internments with full military honors.


      1. Bradley Masters

        Hi Greg, that does sound like a lead, which is pretty exciting, I mean you never know.
        The part that struck me was that is matches his serial number 12/4092, hopefully with that he may be able to be buried, can’t seem to find the record where I last saw it, but I’ll search through my bookmarks/search history and get back to you.
        Kind Regards



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.