Charles Mene MM
Charles Mene was born in 1915 on Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait. His family was involved in the pearling industry where he also worked, then later as a houseboy. Charles enlisted in the Militia on 3 September 1939 and later transferred to the 2nd Australian Imperial Force eventually joining the 2/33rd Battalion that was sent to the Middle East as part of the Syrian campaign.
The 2/33rd Battalion also saw action at Kokoda, Buna and Gona. The Battalion lost over a hundred men and experienced some of the toughest fighting that Australian soldiers would endure during WWII.
Charles also served in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan from 1946. In 1950, he re-engaged to serve in Korea with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. Due to his extensive combat experience, he served in the machine gun platoon of Support Company but was occasionally seconded to rifle companies to lead less experienced soldiers in battle. In 1952 Charles was awarded the Military Medal for his leadership and coolness under fire.
After the Korean War, Charles joined the Regular Army and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment as the battalion prepared for operations in Malaya. After two years of serving in Malaya, he returned home to Australia and discharged in April 1961.