Albert Reginald Victor CHAPLIN


CHAPLIN, Albert Reginald Victor

Service Number: 2584
Enlisted: 1 May 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 52nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Avenel, Victoria, 29 July 1892
Home Town: Alberton, Port Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Goolwa Public School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, Mouquet Farm, France, 4 September 1916, aged 24 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

1 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2584, Keswick, South Australia
26 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2584, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
26 Aug 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2584, 12th Infantry Battalion, RMS Morea, Adelaide
10 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2584, 12th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
1 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 52nd Infantry Battalion
3 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 2584, 52nd Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm

Help us honour Albert Reginald Victor Chaplin's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Father James CHAPLIN and Mother Elizabeth, living at Goolwa, South Australia on enlisting.

Sister:  Florence Annie Chaplin
           living at 16 McLaren Street, Adelaide, South Australia
           m. Hector Davies and lived at Deniliquin, NSW.

Next of kin in service:
Brother   3780 Private George Lancelot Chaplin
              7/2/1916 embarked Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide SA
              on board HMAT A28 Miltiades
              23/5/1917  returned to Australia as a Private in the 52nd Battalion
              living at Soldiers Settlement, Tuppal, NSW

5 years apprenticeship with McFarlane Buckenhead

Last lived c/o Mrs Pike, Princess Street, Alberton, South Australia.

They played together in an undefeated season, and for five of Port Adelaide's 1914 premiership and Champions of Australia team, the battlefield of football would shortly transform into one of war.

Joseph Watson, Roy Drummond, William Boon, Albert Chaplin and John Robertson would all enlist to serve in the Australian Imperial Forces in The Great War following their unbeaten - and unmatched - 1914 football campaign.

The 1914 season is widely regarded as the club's best season with Port Adelaide achieving the distinction of going through the entire year without losing a single match. It is won its fourteen SAFL games by an average margin of 49 points. The 1914 SAFL Grand Final is notable as Port Adelaide held North Adelaide to a single goal for the match 13.15 (93) to 1.8 (14), a feat that would be repeated in 1989. The club would then meet VFL Premiers Carlton on Adelaide Oval, defeating the Victorian club 9.16 (70) to 5.6 (36) to claim a record fourth Championship of Australia title. At the end of 1914 season the SAFL put together a combined team from the six other SAFL clubs to play Port Adelaide to no avail with the now dubbed "Invincibles" winning 14.14 (98) to South Australia's 5.10 (40).

The SAFL competition was suspended from 1916 to 1918 because of World War I in which the club lost three players due to the conflict. Those players were William Boon, Joseph Watson and Albert Chaplin.

Described on enlisting as 22 years 9 months old; single; 5' 7"tall; 136 lbs; fair complexion;
grey eyes; brown hair; Protestant.

5/5/1915        Completed medical - fit for service

11/5/1915      Enlisted at Keswick, South Australia
                     Commanding Officer appointed Albert to B Company Base Infantry
                     Mitcham Camp

26/8/1915      Embarked from Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide, on board RMS Morea 
                     as a Private with 8th reinforcements, 12th Infantry Battalion

In August the 12th Infanty Battalion contributed two companies to the attack on Lone Pine.
It was the only battalion in the brigade to do so.
The 12th served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December 1915.

3/11/1915      sick with Influenza - Mudros
                      admitted to No.2 Stationary Hospital
11/11/1915     discharged to unit

6/1/1916         discharged off of Lake Michigan into Alexandria, Egypt

1/3/1916         transferred from 12th Battalion to 3rd Brigade, Tel-El-Kebir
1/3/1916         transferred from 12th Battalion to 52nd Battalion, Railhead

The 52nd Battalion was raised at Tel el Kebir in Egypt on 1 March 1916 as part of the "doubling" of the AIF. Approximately half of its recruits were veterans from the 12th Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 12th, the 50th was a mix of men from South and Western Australia and Tasmania. The 52nd became part of the 13th Brigade of the 4th Australian Division.

13/3/1916       Promoted to Corporal

13/5/1916       Promoted to Lance Sergeant, Serapeum

5/6/1916         proceeded to join British Expeditionary Forces, Alexandria
                      on board HMAT Ivernia
12/6/1916       disembarked at Marseilles, France

4/7/1916         Promoted to Sergeant, 52nd Battalion

The 52nd fought in its first major battle at Mouquet Farm on 3 September. It had been present during an earlier attack mounted by the 13th Brigade between 13 and 15 August, but had been allocated a support role and missed the fighting. In this second attack the 52nd had a key assaulting role and suffered heavy casualties- 50 per cent of its fighting strength.

3/9/1916        5am in the morning, it was light at Mouquet Farm
                      the battalion went on the charge towards the German Line
                      Albert and many others of the 52nd Battalion were never seen or heard of again.
                      There were major losses this day.  His body was never recovered.

No known grave.

His name is commemorated at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France.

His name is located at panel 154 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial,
Canberra, ACT.

1914-15 Star (5793); British War medal (22168); Victory medal (22001);
Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll (323108)

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan.  10/4/2015.  Lest we forget.