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Stuart CHAMBERS


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Cpl 18y8m 24/01/16 4/7/17 - DW 3 & 7

Lance Corporal Stuart Chambers (1897-1917)      

Chambers Brothers Booklet

The Chambers Family 

Oliver and Ellen Chambers’ youngest son was Stuart, born at Mackay, Queensland in 1897. 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. Howard Oliver Chambers was born in Nhill, Victoria in 1885, second son of Oliver Cromwell and Ellen Chambers. 

Early Life and Enlistment

Stuart moved with his parents to their farm at Elbow Valley between Warwick and Killarney and worked there as a farmer. He served in the Citizen Military Force at Warwick for four years before enlisting in the AIF a few days after his older brother, Les on 24 January 1916. Stuart trained at Enoggera Base from 3 February to 3 June 1916 before embarking from Sydney on HMAT Borda for Alexandria then Southampton. Stuart’s brother Les was on the same troopship in the same 11th Machine Gun Company, 3rd Division, AIF. 

Service in Europe

The 3rd Australian Division was unlike the other Australian divisions. It had gone from Australia straight to England where companies assembled into battalions and battalions into brigades for the first time at Lark Hill on Salisbury Plain from July to August 1916. “There is a certain air about the men,” said General Monash soon after taking command. “They all have a mature, independent, hard and active look, the outstanding characteristic being intelligence.” 

Monash’s Australians proceeded to France in November 1916, part of Second Anzac Corps to capture Messines. Both Stuart and his elder brother, Les were admitted with mumps to hospital in Rouen. Stuart was promoted to Lance-Corporal on 12 December 1916 but was readmitted to hospital at the end of the year. He rejoined his unit on 19 January 1917. Though Monash’s arrangements for the battles ahead were meticulous, heavy losses occurred amidst high-explosive shelling. Heavily laden columns had to don gas masks. Casualties were severe.

Mortally Wounded in Action

Lance Corporal Stuart Chambers was wounded in action on 4 July 1917 and taken to 9th Field Ambulance, Belgium, where he died, the result of gunshot wounds to both legs, both arms and head and a compound fracture of the left tibia. Before the full particulars of his son’s death were known to him, his father wrote with the courtesy characteristic of the era, “Will you kindly send me the certificate of death of my son Stuart Chambers who was killed in France and oblige, Yours sincerely, O C Chambers” 

Medals Given to His Parents and Memorials

Over ensuing months, Stuart’s death certificate, medals – 1914/15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, and memorial scroll were sent to his parents. He was buried at Westhof Farm, two miles south-east of Dranoutre, 41⁄4 miles north-west of Armentières. 

Lance Corporal Stuart Chambers is remembered with honour in the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel as well as the War Memorial in Leslie Park, Warwick. The marble plaque has these words, “LEST WE FORGET. Erected in the year 1923 AD, to cherish and to perpetuate the memory of the men from Warwick and District who were faithful unto death in the Empire’s victorious struggle for righteousness and freedom.” 

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 online
  • Plumb, Lyn, ‘Excerpts from the Diary of Howard Chambers’, published by The Daily Mercury and online 

Compiled by Noel E Adsett, February 2015

 

 

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