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Arthur Frank CHAMBERS


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Major 1887 - 27y 21/08/14 20/4/17 - DW 3 & 7

Major Arthur Frank Chambers  (1887-1917)

Chambers Brothers Booklet

The Chambers Family 

The fourth son in the Chambers family, Arthur Frank was born at Nhill, Victoria in 1887. The names of four Chambers soldiers appear on one of the Honour Boards at Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church. They belonged to a large family of six brothers and four sisters. Their parents were Oliver Cromwell Chambers and Ellen (née Bosher). Mr and Mrs Chambers began their married life in 1877 at Nhill, Victoria where the older children were born. They later moved to North Queensland then Roma in Western Queensland. At the time when the four sons were enlisting for service in the Australian Imperial Force in the Great War, their parents were living on a farm called Balmah at Elbow Valley between Killarney and Warwick. 

Enlistment and Service

He began his service in the Australian Imperial Force as a Staff Officer with rank of Lieutenant on enlistment in August 1914 in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment. His unit embarked from Brisbane on HMAT Star of England on 24 September 1914. 

On arrival at Egypt, training was commenced. Soon after, news of the heavy losses at Anzac Cove on 25 April and the arrival of the wounded at Heliopolis, reinforcements, Arthur among them hurriedly prepared for their departure. Light horsemen were to be used to hold places as infantrymen, so their horses were left behind. Arthur’s horse was left in the care of his brother, Howard. The light horsemen 

“had learnt from the infantry to catch the Turkish bombs before they burst and throw them back, or else to smother them with an overcoat or sandbag. Also bombs improvised from jam tins filled with snippets of metal were now being manufactured on Anzac Beach and a shower of these quietened the Turks – but not for long.”

Such were the dangerous conditions at Gallipoli for Lieutenant Arthur Chambers for the following months till he succumbed to gastroenteritis, was evacuated to hospital and did not return until September. 

Service at Gallipoli and Mortal Wounding

He received a promotion to the rank of Captain and survived to participate in the evacuation of Gallipoli Peninsula. The Regiment sailed for Alexandria on 19 December. Arthur Chambers and his brother Howard were at sea on Christmas Day. 

The re-grouped Mounted Force fought the Turkish army in the Sinai Desert and Palestine from 1916. Arthur became Major Chambers from 1 May 1916. The account also mentions the mortal wounding of Arthur Chambers on 19 April 1917 as recorded in Howard’s diary. It occurred near Khan Unis during the Second Battle of Gaza. The 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment was ordered to take up a position at Baiket el Sana to oppose the Turks who were advancing on this position. Whilst under fire, Major Chambers was wounded as he was laying out trenches for his squadron to dig. Major Chambers had his wounds dressed by Captain Machlin, Regimental Medical Officer, before being passed to the Field Hospital, Tel el Jemmi where he died of his wounds on 20 April. He was buried in Palestine in 8 Gaza War Cemetery. Members of the squadron were given a brief respite from fighting to allow for the burial of Major Chambers. This task in fact was conducted by his brother Howard. 

Return of His Belongings to Australia

Arthur’s belongings were sent home in due course. Among them was a silver cup which had been won in an Arab Pony race at Assiut a year before. The ‘pony’ was Arthur’s horse Teddy which is believed to have been of racing stock and bred on a property near Warwick, Qld. Teddy served later with the regiment at Beersheba. Arthur Frank Chambers’ name is engraved on the war memorial at Leslie Park, Warwick. 

His youngest brother Stuart’s name is there as well. Both are also remembered on the brass roll honouring 41 soldiers of Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church who paid the supreme sacrifice. There are the words, “To the glory of God and in memory of the men of this congregation who gave their lives during the Great War.” 

Chambers Brothers Booklet


Select Bibliography 

  • Bean C E W, Anzac to Amiens, Penguin Books, Melbourne, 2014 Pedersen Peter, The Anzacs - Gallipoli to the Western Front, Penguin 
  • Group, Camberwell, 2007 Queensland Register of Births Deaths and Marriages
  • Births Deaths Marriages Victoria
  • Queensland War Memorial Register
  • Daily Mercury, Mackay, 19 January 1923, page 5
  • National Archives of Australia, military records
  • The Queenslander, Saturday 26 June 1915
  • First World War Embarkation Rolls
  • Warwick Examiner and Times, Saturday 20 October 1917
  • The Australian Light Horse Association on line
  • Plumb, Lyn, ‘Excerpts from the Diary of Howard Chambers’, published by The Daily Mercury and on line 

Compiled by Noel E Adsett, February 2015

 

 

 

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