Remembering Moree lieutenant Charles David Brennan ahead of VP Day 75th anniversary

Lieutenant Charles David Brennan was killed in action in Borneo on July 3, 1945. Photo: supplied

Lieutenant Charles David Brennan was killed in action in Borneo on July 3, 1945. Photo: supplied

He was killed in action less than two months before the end of World War II, but Lieutenant Charles David Brennan from Moree is one of the thousands of men we should remember this Saturday, on the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day.

Charles David Brennan was born in Moree on January 20, 1919 to William (Bill) Maybury Brennan (1877-1936) and Blanche Christina Connolly (1884-1963). He had two older siblings, Elsie Jean (1913-1984) and John (Jack) Albert (1915-1973), all of whom were born in Moree.

Their father Bill had migrated from County Kerry in Ireland in the first decade of last century. He married Blanche in Bingara in 1912 before the family moved to Moree where they lived at 68 Boston Street until 1936 when Bill went back to Ireland to visit his mother. Unfortunately, Bill became ill on the ship to Ireland and died at the Royal Southampton Hospital on April 6, 1936. Blanche moved to Sydney to be close to her daughter following he husband's death.

Not long after their father's death, both Charlie and Jack enlisted to go to war.


Charlie first enlisted in the militia and then transferred to the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF), doing his training at Bathurst, while Jack enlisted in the airforce before also joining the AIF.

Charlie was a platoon commander in the 2/31 Battalion, service number NX110392.

Charlie Brennan at war. Photo: supplied

Charlie Brennan at war. Photo: supplied

According to the war diary of the 2/31 Battalion, Charlie died while attacking a Japanese strong point named 'Nobody' (army jargon).

His sergeant, Robert Askin, who would later become Premier of NSW, was standing next to him when he was hit, according to Charlie's nephew and namesake Charlie Brennan, who is the son of Jack.

"It is ironic that he died attacking nobody," Mr Brennan said.

"Charlie lasted through five years of war only to be killed a month before it ended.

"My father told me he knew that something terrible had happened the day Charlie died.

"Dad was in the AIF too and was somewhere in Australia training for the invasion of Japan at that time."

Before the war, Charlie worked for a solicitors firm in Moree and in his honour after the war they had a photo of him hanging in the office for many years.

When he died, Charlie also left behind a fiance, who Mr Brennan said was devastated by his death.

Mr Brennan's parents meanwhile were married in early 1943 while Jack had a week's leave from the army.

"He came back from Africa and they gave him a week's leave to get married before they sent him to New Guinea," Mr Brennan said.

"To think things are pretty difficult at the moment, but compared to that, it's nothing."

Mr Brennan said the 75th anniversary of VP Day is a good opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of the generations before us, and remind ourselves that although we're going through unprecedented times right now, others went through worse.

"A lot of people died and went through hell, and if you forget about it, you're likely to repeat it," he said.

"It's good to remember those people who lost everything."