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DENNIS, Charles Edgar (1879-1960)

DENNIS, Dr Charles Edgar OBE (1879-1960)

Charles Edgar Dennis was born on 3 June 1879, the fifth of seven children of Alexander Dennis (1844-1931) and Jessie nee Fairbairn. of Eeyuk, Terang, Victoria. He was educated at Geelong College where his address was listed as 'Eeyuk', Kolora near Terang. No date of enrolment is entered for him in the registers though the prize lists indicate him at the School in 1893 and he is noted as a member of the 1st Football XVIII in 1897.
He gained the following class prizes:
1893, 1st, Algebra, Lower 4th Class.
1893, 1st, English, Lower 4th Class.
1894, 1st, French, Upper 4th Class.
1894, 1st, Elocution.
1895, 1st, Latin,5th Class.
1895, 2nd, Physiology.
1896, 1st, English, University Class.
1896, 2nd, Algebra, University Class.
1896, 1st, Latin, University Class.
1896, 2nd, Physiology, University Class.
1897, 1st, Chemistry, Post Matriculation.
1897, 1st, Physics, Post Matriculation.
1897, 1st, Boarders Scripture, 2nd Class.

Charles' father, Alexander Dennis had attended Geelong Grammar and Scotch College, Melbourne.

After leaving College, Charles studied at The University of Melbourne, where he graduated MB BS in 1902, and MD in 1905. He was Resident Medical Officer at Melbourne General Hospital and Melbourne Women’s Hospital, after which he became assistant to Dr Herman Laurence, Dermatologist, in Collins St from 1905 until 1908.

He married Alice Aileen Hamilton, daughter of Talbot and Catherine Hamilton, at Mortlake in 1908, in that year he commenced practice at Ballarat as a Radiologist, and in 1914 in Collins St, Melbourne.

He enlisted in the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) on 20 August 1915, holding the rank of Major, embarked on RMS Morea on 24 August 1915, and was appointed Radiologist to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield in England. Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel 18 September 1917, and twice Mentioned in Despatches, he served at No 10 Australian General Hospital. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 3 June 1919.

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) Collection holds a group portrait of officers of No 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield Park. The group includes Lt P Magarey (pharmacist), Captains A H Gymer, Harris Mendelsohn MC, F B Craig, C Renwick; D Christie, B Hussey, G Sutton; Mr Coxen (Red Cross Officer, Director of Recreation Study); Majors S C Fitzpatrick MC, J Bell, E Brown, T L Anderson, Registrar, H C Adams; Lieutenant Colonels C Yeatman, Officer Commanding, C G Shaw DSO and C E Dennis.

Major Charles Dennis returned to Australia, embarking on 2 March 1919.

He died on 6 November 1960. Pegasus recorded his death in June 1961: 'Dr Charles Edgar Dennis OBE graduated in Medicine from the University of Melbourne, and practised in Ballarat until the First World War, when he enlisted. In 1915, he was in charge of the Fairfield Military Hospital, London, and, returning to Australia and practising in Collins St after the war, he retained his interest in military hospitals being active at Caulfield Repatriation Hospital.'

His brother, William James Dennis (1877-1941), was also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Pegasus June 1961 p69; Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. p.169 (citing Alexander Henderson, Early Pioneer Families of Victoria and Riverina (1936); Pegasus; National Archives; AWM A03389); Corfield & Persse Geelong Grammarians Vol 1 1855-1913 p 57.
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