59327 Private Charles Phillip Cosgrove – Wellington Infantry Regiment

Charles Phillip Cosgrave was born in Napier on the 28th April 1888 the eldest of three sons born to Catherine and James Cosgrove[i].

Charles was raised in Napier but moved, for employment to Wellington where on the 28th November 1916 he married Christina Elizabeth Sutherland[ii]. The couple moved out to live in Pukerua Bay near Porirua.

On the 17th March 1917 Charles Phillip Cosgrove was selected in the 6th Military Ballot for military service.[iii]  The numbers of voluntary enlistments did not meet the numbers required for the Reinforcements so the ballot was used to draw 4812 men to fill the 1203 vacancies. The ratio of four men to each ballot was required due to the numbers of men
not meeting the increased medical requirements.

On the 7th May 1917 Charles Phillip Cosgrove was examined at Trentham and while there are notes about his heart and suffering dyspepsia the doctor noted:

I have examined this recruit and fine that he does not present any of the causes of rejecting specified in the Regulations for Army Medical Services.
I consider him fit for service in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in and beyond New Zealand.
Fit A

Interestingly in later military documents it notes that Charles had been called up in September 1916 but had been
rejected because of incorrect heart function.
59327 Private Cosgrove entered military camp on the 27th June 1917 his next of kin is noted as Mrs C E Cosgrove (wife)
C/- Mrs Scott, Pukerua Bay via Paekakariki. Charles is listed as working as a Clerk for the New Zealand Government
Printing Office. Following basic training Private Cosgrove left for overseas service on the 14th August 1917 as part of B Company, 29th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry.

59327 Private Cosgrove arrived in Glasgow on the 2nd October 1917 and was trained to the Sling Military Training Camp. Training at Sling was brief and Private Cosgrove was shipped to France three weeks later. In France Private Cosgrove underwent more intensive training for six weeks before being posted to 17th (Ruahine) Company, 3rd Battalion,
Wellington Infantry Regiment ‘In the Field’ on the 19th December 1917. Private Cosgrove and the Ruahine Company had
a White Christmas in the front lines of the Ruetel Sector with very cold temperatures and snow showers.

In the New Year the 3rd Battalion Head Quarters was moved to Hoograaf. On the 18th January 1918 the Wellington-West Coast, Hawkes Bay and Ruahine Companies moved to Busseboom for work with the 3rd Canadian Tunnellers. At Busseboom the men were in splendid quarters and the work they were engaged on was mainly tunnelling, the building of shelters in support and reserve lines.[iv]

It was while the Ruahine Company, 3rd Battalion, Wellington Regiment was in Busseboom, Belgium when Private Cosgrove on the 19th January 1918 was admitted to the No3 Field Ambulance with scalding to his right leg. The accident is recorded as accidental and while on duty and that Private Cosgrove was not to blame. Private Cosgrove was moved to the No2 Canadian General Hospital and then the No2 Australian General Hospital prior to being evacuated to England on the 24th January 1918 to the Lewisham Military Hospital.

At the Lewisham Military Hospital the issue of Private Cosgrove’s heart condition were of more concern that the now
healed foot scalding. Private Cosgrove remained at Lewisham Military Hospital until March 1918 and was then transferred to the No 1 NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst. Private Cosgrove was considered by a medical board at Brockenhurst
on the 31st March 1918 and it was determined that his heart was irregular and dilated and the condition had been aggravated while on military service. The recommendation was to discharge Private Cosgrove as P.U. (permanently unfit).

On the 14th June 1918 Private Cosgrove was boared on the NZ Hospital Ship Maheno and returned to New Zealand with 392 service personnel. Following his arrival in New Zealand Private Cosgrove was assessed at Wellington on the 13th August 1918 and it was confirmed that he should be discharge.

59327 Private Charles Phillip Cosgrove was, on 8th September 1918, formally discharged from the NZEF ‘ no longer physically fit for war service D A H.’[v]

Charles Phillip Cosgrove returned to his wife in Pukerua Bay but by 1923 they had moved to Wellington where Charles’ campaign medals were delivered.

Charles Phillip Cosgrove died on the 5th June 1944, Christina Elizabeth Cosgrove in 1950.[vi]

DAH is 'Disordered Action of the Heart' otherwise known as 'Soldier's Heart' or 'Effort Syndrome' and was thought to result from a combination of over exertion, mental stress and fatigue, also in this case a condition aggravated by war service.
68154 Private Thomas Peter Cosgrove
83365 Private John Joseph Cosgrove

Paperspast Online
The Wellington Regiment 1914-1919: NZETC.Victoria.ac.na

[i]    NZ BDM
[ii]   Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 59327 Private Charles Phillip Cosgrove
[iii]  Sixth Ballot, 17th April 1917, Evening Post
[iv]  The Wellington Regiment 1914-1919:
[v]   Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 59327 Private Charles Phillip Cosgrove
[vi]  NZ BDM 
NZ  Hospital Ship Mahone off Sinclair Heads, Wellington