Charles Ingram Gossage was born on 11 August 1890 at Tapanui, New Zealand, to Richard Ingram Gossage and Margret (Smith) and was the oldest boy in a family of three girls and two boys: Jane Eliza, born in 1886, Marion Peebles and Margaret Rubina, born 1888 and George Low born 1894.1
Meeting his military service obligations, Gossage served in the 5th Mounted Rifles (Otago Hussars). Joining the Bank of New Zealand on 6 January 1913, Gossage was employed at the Dunedin branch when he enlisted into the NZEF.
On the declaration of war, Gossage, along with his younger brother George volunteered for war service and enlisted at Dunedin into their Territorial Army unit, the 5th Mounted Rifles (Otago Hussars), on 9 August 1914. Gossage was attested as 9/39 Trooper C. I Gossage on 13 August 1914.
After a short training period, the Gossage brothers embarked as part of the NZEF Main Body on Troop Transport 5 on 15 October 1914, disembarking in Egypt on 3 December 1914.
Transferred into the Divisional Headquarters on 5 February 1915, Gossage was allocated the new Regimental Number of 15/39a. Embarking from Alexandra for the Dardanelles on 27 April, Gossage remained at Gallipoli until he was evacuated to Alexandra with dysentery in late June. Remaining in Hospital until 5 August he was then released to a convalescent Camp to recover, returning to full duty on 25 August.
On 27 August Gossages 22-year-old brother George who was also serving with the Otago’s in Gallipoli was killed in action and now rests on the Hill 60 cemetery at Gallipoli and is memorialised on the Mosgiel War memorial in New Zealand.
Returned to full fitness, Gossage departed from Alexandra for Mudros on 3 November, continuing to serve in Gallipoli until the withdrawal on 20 December, disembarking in Alexandra soon afterwards.
Transferred from Division Headquarter back to the Otago Mounted Rifles, Gossage was promoted to Temporary Signal Corporal on 28 December and served with the Otago Mounted Rifles in the Canal Zone and was promoted to Lance Corporal on 28 January 1916.
Enjoying some downtime as the NZEF reorganised, Gossage was admitted to a hospital in Ismailia with VD on 6 February and then transferred to the Hospital at Abbassya the next day and released from the hospital on 13 February.
Relinquishing his temporary Corporal rank on 10 February, Gossage was transferred to Moascar camp and Attached to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) on 13 February and promoted to Sergeant on 18 February.
Formally transferred to the NZAOC on 21 March, Gossage had a brief time to acquaint himself with his new responsibilities before embarking for France on 6 April.
Working under the Deputy Assistant Director Ordnance Services (DADOS) NZ Division Lieutenant Colonel Herbert, the NZAOC had a steep learning curve and not only had to learn how to operate within the British Ordnance system but also support the New Zealand Division as it reorganised and equipped with all types of war materiel.2
On 17 April 1916, Gossage was appointed Company Sergeant Major and acting Warrant Officer, and on 24 July, in a testament to his performance, Gossage was promoted to Warrant Officer Class One with the appointment of Conductor, the first New Zealand Soldier to be granted this appointment. Further promotion followed with promotion to 2nd Lieutenant on 25 January 1917.
14 May 1917 saw Gossage at the New Zealand Officer Convalescent Home at Brighton in England, where he remained until 12 June and then placed onto the strength of the HQ NZEF (UK) in London. Struck off strength HQ NZEF(UK) on 13 June, Gossage was posted to the New Zealand Reserve Group at Sling Camp.
To further his utility as an Ordnance Officer, Gossage marched out of Sling Camp on 21 September to attend an Ordnance Officers course at the Headquarters of the Army Ordnance Corps located at the Red Barracks, Woolwich, London.
During his time at Woolwich married Wilfred Agnes Norwell in London on 29 December 1917.
Completing the Ordnance Officers course at Woolwich, Gossage was brought back on to the strength of the NZAOC in London on 25 February 1918, proceeding back to France on 18 March. Arriving back in the NZ Division on 19 March, Gossage was promoted to Lieutenant and appointed DADOS NZ Division vice Lieutenant Colonel Herbert DSO who had been appointed as the ADOS of a British Corps.3 On 31 March, when he was employed as DADOS, Gossage was granted the Rank of Temporary Captain, and on 24 June was awarded the rank of Temporary Major.
Departing France for leave in the United Kingdom on 2 November 1918, Gossage was on leave when the armistice took effect on 11 November. Within the first few weeks of the armistice, if space allowed, the wives and families of New Zealand servicemen returned to New Zealand.4 It is possible that Gossage’s wife departed for New Zealand during this period.
Returning to France on 20 November, Gossage moved with the New Zealand Division through Belgium into Germany, establishing themselves in Cologne by 20 December, where they carried out occupation duties before demobilisation.5 On 15 December, Gossage was promoted to Captain while retaining the rank of Temporary Major while DADOS NZ Division.
With the first units of the Division demobilising on 18 March 1919, the New Zealand Division was formally disbanded on 25 March 1919.6 Gossage was ordered to proceed to England as soon as the Ordnance Equipment of the New Zealand Division was handed over to the British. Impressed with the performance of the New Zealand Division between 16 September 1918 and 15 March 1919, General Haig Mentioned in Dispatches many members of the New Zealand Division, including Gossage, on 16 March 1919. With the New Zealand Division demobilised and all its equipment disposed of or handed back, Gossage marched out for England on 2 May 1919.
On 31 May 1919, Gossage’s daughter Thelma was born in Auckland, New Zealand.
Awarded the OBE on 3 June 1919, Gossage remained in London until 25 August, then posted to Sling Camp, where he remained until he returned to New Zealand for demobilisation on 3 November 1919.
Travelling back on the troopship Ruahine, Gossage arrived back in New Zealand on 25 December 1919 and proceeded on leave. On 24 January 1920, Gossage Relinquished the rank of Temporary Major and was Struck off the strength of the NZEF and was transferred to the reserve of Officers with the rank of Captain. In total, Gossage spent five years and seventy-one days on overseas service.
Gossage did remain out of uniform for long and, on 16 August 1920, was granted a commission as a Lieutenant in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) as Ordnance Accounting Officer at the Mount Cook depot at Wellington.
Gossage oversaw the receipt of a large amount of new military equipment, which had been purchased from the United Kingdom to equip an Infantry Division and Mounted Brigade at the end of the war. Additionally, Gossage also introduced a modern cost accounting system, which proved remarkably successful and reduced losses to negligible levels.
With the closing of the Mount Cook Depot in Wellington in 1920 and the transfer of Ordnance services to Trentham Camp, Gossage transferred to Trentham as the Accounting Officer on 18 July 1921. Offered a position with a commercial firm in London, Gossage resigned his commission with the NZAOD on 31 December 1922 and relocated to the United Kingdom with his family.
With the onset of the Second World War and the second echelon of the 2nd NZEF in the United Kingdom, on 20 May 1940, Gossage offered his services to the New Zealand Government. On the recommendation of Lieutenant Colonel King, the DADOS of the 2NZEF, Gossage’s offer was declined. Although his offer of service was refused by New Zealand, Gossage was commissioned as a Lieutenant into the admin branch of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) on 21 April 1941.7 The extent of Gossage’s wartime service with the RAOC is unknown, but he does not appear in the Army list of 1947, so it is likely that he was discharged soon after the end of the war.
Gossage passed away at St Andrews Hospital, London, at the age of seventy-five on 3 March 1966.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2018
1 “Charles Ingram Gossage “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
2 P.H. Williams, Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War (History Press, 2018).
3 Herbert was posted to the British XI Corps as ADOS, “Alfred Henry Herbert “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
4 “NZEF Circular Memorandum Uk 214, Notes on Demobilisation’, in Reports by Gen. Richardson in Uk No. 23-32 Nov 1917-Feb 1919, Acid 17590 Wa/231/11, Anz.”
5 Matthew Wright, Western Front: The New Zealand Division in the First World War 1916-18 (Auckland, N.Z: Reed Books, 2005, 2005), Bibliographies Non-fiction, 159.
6 Ibid., 160.
7 “Supplement to the London Gazette, Page 3075,” London Gazette, 30 May 1941.