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Victorian Naval Forces Muster

for the Colony of Victoria. (muster range 1853-1910)*

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Last Name:Forsberg
First Name:Charles George
Rank:Petty Officer
Birth Date: 00-00-1854
Branch:Victorian Navy

Charles George Forsberg

aka Karl Goran Forsberg

BORN c. 1854 - DIED 20 . 9. 1901

By Shirley M. Joy.

Charles George Forsberg was born in Ronneby, Southern Sweden, about the year 1854. Ronneby, a coastal city on the Baltic Sea, is located on a map of Sweden at 56 degrees . 13 N. and 15 degrees . 17 E.

The parents of Charles were recorded on his Death Certificate as Andrew Forsberg, Carpenter, and his wife Christina, however, there is the possibility that these names have been Anglicised.

After his school days, Charles Forsberg became a seaman. One voyage, on the Halton Castle, took him to the port of Melbourne, Australia in 1878.

Charles Forsberg was paid off from the Halton Castle, (16 Pounds, 6 Shillings), and subsequently made his home in the suburbs of Melbourne. In 1883, Charles Forsberg married Margaret Arablela Esmonde at Fitzroy.

Charles, at this time a resident of Carlton, decided to make Australia his permanent home, so applied to be naturalized as an Australian citizen. Shipping and Naturalization Records reveal that - "Charles Forsberg arrived in the Colony of Victoria on the 4th. February, 1878, by the ship Halton Castle, from the Port of Burrard's Inlet in British Columbia and that he has ever since his arrival, being a period of seven years, been a resident in the said Colony of Victoria".

On the 27th. April, 1885, Charles Forsberg presented to His Excellency, Sir Henry Brougham Loch, a "Memorial for Letters of Naturalization" and obtained a "Certificate of Good Repute" the same day from Moses Benjamin J.P. The following day, the 28th. April, 1885 he swore his "Oath of Allegiance" to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, before a Judge of the Supreme Court. Charles was granted his "Letters of Naturalization" on the 5th. May, 1885.

Soon after his naturalization Charles applied to become a member of the Victorian Naval Brigade, and was accepted. He served as a member of the crew of HMVS Cerberus. Charles diligently served as a member of the Naval Brigade for the next 16 years, and was made a Petty Officer 2nd. Class, in March, 1894.

Charles Forsberg and his wife Margaret had seven children during their married life together.

The Naval Brigade records confirm that Charles Forsberg continued with his Brigade duties until the month of September, 1901, when he died as the result of "carcinoma of the stomach" and "exhaustion", from which he had suffered for the previous 2 years. At the time of his death, on the 20th. September, 1901, he was 47 years of age.

The names of his children were recorded on his Death Certificate as -

Albin aged 16 years

Irene aged 14 years

Eveline aged 13 years

May aged 11 years

Leila aged 10 years

Jessie aged 8 years

Marguereta aged 6 years.

Petty Officer Charles George Forsberg, a resident at No. 28 Charles Street, Footscray, was an honoured and respected member of the Victorian Naval Brigade and the Footscray community, and he was buried with Naval Honors on the 22nd. September, 1901.

The coffin carrying the body of Charles George Forsberg was transported to the Footscray Cemetery on a gun-carriage, which was drawn by members of the Naval Brigade.

The Newspapers - The Footscray Advertiser and The Newport Times, carried tributes to this popular and professional local identity. Copies of the newspaper tributes are included in the following page.

References -

Death Certificate - Charles George Forsberg.

From the Australian Archives - Victorian Naval Brigade - Williamstown Division, Muster Rolls.

Naturalization Papers.

Shipping Certificates of Indorsement.

Newspapers -

The Newport Times 28th. September, 1901.

The Footscray Advertiser 28th. September, 1901. Descendant of Charles George Forsberg -

A. Laurence - Black Rock, Victoria.

THE FOOTSCRAY ADVERTISER

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER, 28, 1901.

"The sound of a bugle in the neighbourhood of the Footscray railway station on Sunday afternoon last, indicated that something of a military nature was to take place, and it was soon discovered by a large number that about seventy members of the Naval brigade, with the band, had come out to pay the last tribute of respect to a departed comrade, Petty-officer Chas. Forsberg, of 28 Charles Street, who after a long and painful illness died on the Friday morning previous, at the age of 47 years. Mr. Forsberg, who had been 14 years in the brigade, leaves a widow and six (sic) children. The officers of the brigade present were Commander Tickell, Lieutenant Miller, and Chief Gunners Stone and Hayes. Six members of the Scottish Regiment, and a large number of Ivy Lodge of Druids, of which deceased was a member, also took part in the procession, which was a lengthy one.

The place of interment was Footscray Cemetery, so that it may be imagined that the members of the brigade drawing the gun carriage were a little exhausted when they had finished on the rough road (for there were no relays - the same men pulling the carriage to and from the cemetery). Chief-Gunner Hayes had charge of the firing party, which fired the usual volleys at the cemetery. The Rev. J. T. Baglin conducted the burial service, and Mr. W. A. Warne had charge of the funeral arrangements."

THE NEWPORT TIMES

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1901.

"After a painful and weary illness extending over a number of months, Petty Officer C. Forsberg, V.N.B., breathed his last on Friday at his home in Footscray, and was accorded an honoured burial on Sunday last at the hands of his fellow members, who mustered in good numbers to pay the last and fitting tribute to a deceased comrade. The coffin was placed on an Armstrong gun-carriage and covered with a Union Jack, being preceded by a firing party and the Naval Brigade Band playing the Dead March in "Saul", and drawn by a field-gun's crew to the Footscray cemetery.

It may be said that in the carrying out of his duties "Charley" Forsberg was known as one of the quietest, most unassuming and at the same time efficient petty officers in the service; while as one of their best shots he made it his duty and pleasure (more especially in the shooting for prizes) to unselfishly impart his knowledge and skill with the rifle to any of the younger members, his stock of "wrinkles"and other information being always at the disposal of anyone who cared to take advantage of them, not in any way seeking to suppress his attainments in that direction for his own personal advantage. Therefore it was with manifestations of genuine sorrow that his comrades performed their part in the final duty to a popular shipmate, who, after a hard struggle for life, had "slipped the cable" and serenely sailed to the "haven of rest"."

CHARLES GEORGE FORSBERG

A MEMBER OF THE VICTORIAN NAVAL BRIGADE -

WILLIAMSTOWN DIVISION,

WHO SERVED ON H.M.V.S. CERBERUS.

By Shirley M. Joy.

MUSTER ROLL - WILLIAMSTOWN DIVISION.

References relating to Charles George Forsberg, researched at the Australian Archives, (now National Archives of Australia), on 2nd. April, 1998. Reference B5549/1 Series. Five Volumes - 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

The first reference discovered relating to Charles Forsberg's membership of the Victorian Naval Brigade - Williamstown Division, was for the month ending 31st. January, 1886, at which time Charles Forsberg's "total drills" were 19 hours.

The Muster Rolls are a very precise record of a member's activities with the Naval Brigade on a day to day basis, with a summary of those activities compiled each month. The surviving Muster Rolls for the months between 31st. January, 1886 and September, 1901 revealed that Charles Forsberg attended the Naval Brigade on a very regular basis, and was involved in a wide range of naval training routines.

His training routines included - ammunition, infantry, skirmishing, skirmishing - ship, inspection, ship inspection, and "inspection - pay retainer", the latter suggests that the members of the Naval Brigade received some remuneration for their services.

Many notes were taken from the surviving Muster Rolls, but they are of a repetitious nature, so only some of the highlights will be mentioned here -

Charles Forsberg's "Total Drills" varied from 5 hours per month to 40 ½ hours per month, during his years of service. In March, 1894 Charles Forsberg was made a P.O. 2nd. Class. In the month of June, 1895 there was a major change to the Naval Brigade as the Muster Roll contains no entries for that month, only the words "no attendance." The August, 1895 entry records - "Strength last month 7, enrolled in Brigade during month 18, total number 25". (In May, 1890 the strength was 200). The question must be asked - "Was there an attempt to disband the Naval Brigade"? However, the Naval Brigade continued to function in the following years. In September, 1901 a line was drawn across the name - C. Forsberg in the Muster Roll. Charles George Forsberg died on the 20th. September, 1901 at the age of 47 years.

A SEARCH AT THE AUSTRALIAN ARCHIVES 2ND. APRIL, 1998. REFERENCE NO. B 5549/1 VICTORIAN NAVAL BRIGADE - WILLIAMSTOWN DIVISION - MUSTER ROLL.

MUSTER ROLL AND RECORD OF DRILL AS ABOVE DIVISION FROM 1ST. TO 30TH. APRIL, 1890.

STRENGTH ON THE 1ST. OF LAST MONTH 198

ENROLLED IN BRIGADE DURING MONTH OF APRIL 2

RESIGNED 1

DIED 1

………………….
STRENGTH OF THE DIVISION THIS MONTH 198

SUB. LIEUT. 2

MIDSHIPMEN ENGINEERS 17

MEDICAL OFFICERS 1 WARRANT OFFICERS 5

CHIEF AND 1ST. C.P. OFFICERS 7 2ND. C.P. OFFICERS 6

SEAMEN 159.

MUSTER ROLL AND RECORD OF DRILL AS ABOVE DIVISION FROM 1ST. TO 31ST. MAY, 1890.

STRENGTH ON THE 1ST. OF LAST MONTH 198

ENROLLED IN BRIGADE DURING MONTH OF MAY 3

…………………

201

DISMISSED 1

…………………

STRENGTH THIS MONTH 200

SUB. LIEUT. 2

MIDSHIPMEN ENGINEERS 17

MEDICAL OFFICERS 1

WARRANT OFFICERS 6

CHIEF AND 1ST. C.P. OFFICERS 6

2nd. C.P. OFFICERS 8

SEAMEN 160.


* 1853 is given as the commencement date for the Victorian Navy as this is the year that Commander Lockyer (RN) went to Britain to superintend the building of HMCS Victoria.
Although the Victorian Navy ended in 1901 the career of Cerbeus etc continued. In 1910 the new ships started arriving & manning levels increased.

Information & photographs of men who served in the Victorian Naval Forces is eagerly sought. Please contact the webmaster.
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