Charles was educated at Aberdeen University, where he qualified M.B. in 1893. He joined the Medical Services as a Surgeon Lieutenant on 29th January 1895, then gained promotion to Surgeon Captain/R.A.M.C. Captain 3 years later, on 29th January 1898. He served in South Africa from 1899-1902, recieving the Queen’s Medal, 6 clasps and the King’s Medal, 2 claps. He was promoted to Major on 29th October 1906. Charles entered the war with the 10th Field Ambulance. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1st March 1915, and acted as Temporary Colonel whilst A.D.M.S. for the 21st Division from 3rd January 1916.