Who's Who - Charles Bean

Charles Bean Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean (1879-1968) served as Australia's official war correspondent during World War One and subsequently penned his country's official multi-volume record of the war.

Bean was born in Australia but raised in Britain (educated at Clifton College and Oxford University) before he returned to his native land at the age of 25 in 1904.  Once home he signed up as a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald where he was assigned the task of covering the visit of the Great White Fleet.

In 1909 Bean was sent to western New South Wales to write about the wool industry.  A mundane enough assignment in itself, but while in rural Australia Bean 'discovered' himself and nurtured his growing belief in the distinctive values possessed by native Australians.

Bean grew to believe that those characteristics that defined 'true' Australians were quite different from those often seen in Australia's urban Anglicised cities: rural Australians were (he believed) hardy, independent minded and generous.  These were the same qualities he admired in the men who signed up for war in 1914.

When the Australian Imperial Force went off to war in Egypt, Gallipoli and France Bean went with them as his country's official war correspondent, often reporting from front-line trench conditions.

Wounded in action at Gallipoli he insisted upon continuing to assist with transportation of the wounded to safety while under fire.  Subsequently recommended for the Military Cross he was however ineligible to receive it on account of his civilian status.

The evacuation of the AIF from Gallipoli in December 1915 resulted in the AIF being redeployed to the Western Front; Bean served with them there for the remainder of the war.

With the armistice Bean took up the task of writing and editing the nation's official war history.  Subsequently published in twelve volumes Bean himself wrote six of them, along with a single volume summary, From Anzac to Amiens.

Although Bean was by no means solely responsible for the creation of the Anzac legend he nevertheless made an invaluable contribution to the way Australians subsequently viewed their contribution to the war.

Bean was also instrumental in sponsoring the establishment of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

He died in 1968.

The first zeppelin raid on London was on 31 May 1915.  Earlier raids in January 1915 had avoided London.  The London raid resulted in 28 deaths and 60 injuries.

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