Percival George CHANDLER


CHANDLER, Percival George

Service Number: 2866
Enlisted: 8 November 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Port Pirie, South Australia , 8 November 1887
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College
Occupation: Commercial traveller
Died: Killed in Action, France, 6 March 1917, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Bancourt British Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Myrtle Bank War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

8 Nov 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2866, Adelaide, South Australia
11 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2866, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2866, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Adelaide
6 Mar 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2866, 32nd Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages

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From the book Fallen Saints 

"Percival George Chandler of Norwood was born at Port Pirie, South Australia. Percival was a talented cricketer and while at the School played in at least one of the annual cricket matches against Prince Alfred College on the Adelaide oval.

His talent was not restricted to sport as he was an exceptionally gifted singer who often sang in the School choir at St Peter’s Cathedral on King William Road Adelaide.

After leaving St Peter's College he was employed by the Bank of Adelaide and for a time was a clerk at the bank’s branch in the picturesque, Murray River town of Mannum, South Australia.

From there he entered the service of Dalgety & Co., and resigned to pay a visit to England, where he remained for two years. On returning to South Australia he joined the travelling staff of the British Imperial Oil Company.[i]

He enlisted in Adelaide on 8 November 1915 and was held in transit at 2nd Depot Battalion at Exhibition Camp until early December when he joined the 15th quota of reinforcements for the 10th Battalion AIF.

At Morphettville Camp he attended NCO training throughout all of February and half of March and was made a provisional sergeant at the completion of the course and then in late March he was reallotted to the 6th quota of reinforcements for the 32nd Battalion. Sergeant Chandler sailed from Adelaide aboard HMAT Aeneas on 11 April 1916.

After reaching France and just three days in the front line trenches, the 32nd Battalion fought its first major battle at Fromelles on 19 July and suffered 718 casualties.  This disaster cost the battalion more than 75% of its total strength and ensured it was incapable of playing a key role in major operations for the rest of the year.

Sergeant Chandler was admitted to 26th General Hospital with German measles in August and later transferred to Base Details at Étaples for a period of isolation and while there was reverted to acting corporal.

 As was generally case with men returning from illness, he returned to the battalion in his substantive rank (Private) on 11 February 1917 and was killed in action near Le Transloy on 6 March; he was 29 years of age.

In a letter to Base records written some time after his death Private Chandler’s mother informed the OIC how disappointed she felt when after opening a package she had received found it contained only her son’s testament.  

She said she realised how difficult it would be to gather every soldier’s belongings but asked if anything of her son’s had been overlooked she would be most grateful if it could be sent, ‘whatever it may be.’ [ii]"

[i] Adelaide Chronicle, 7 April 1917, p. 43
[ii] National Archives of Australia: B 2455, Chandler Percival George / 3230963, viewed 25 Jan  2008