William Raymond CHATWIN

CHATWIN, William Raymond

Service Number: 3583
Enlisted: 13 August 1915, Claremont, Tasmania
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 15th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wivenhoe, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia, April 1897
Home Town: Burnie, Burnie, Tasmania
Schooling: State School, Burnie, Tasmania
Occupation: Painter
Died: Killed in Action, France, 31 December 1916
Cemetery: Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Burnie Loyal Wellington Lodge No 5229 I.O.O.F. M.U. Roll of Honour, Burnie War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

13 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 3583, 15th Infantry Battalion, Claremont, Tasmania
27 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 3583, 15th Infantry Battalion
27 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3583, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
18 Aug 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 15th Infantry Battalion
31 Dec 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, 3583, 15th Infantry Battalion

Article from the newspaper


Report by Alton CHATWIN of recommendation of DSO for younger brother William Raymond CHATWIN for capturing 4 German prisoners and rescuing one AIF officer. This not confirmed when family enquired. According to service file, there was a letter of congratulations and promotion to Corporal in the field.

From letters received by Mrs. Chatwin, of Burnie, it would appear that her son, Private Will Chatwin, has distinguished himself on the battlefields of France.- -Another son., Private Alton Chatwin,is responsible for the information, and writes: — 'You will be pleased to know that Will has been recommended for the D.S.O. Last night (Aug. 9) the General sent for him, and congratulated him on his action, stating that he had performed splendid work. He and another man brought in four German
prisoners, and also one of our wounded officers.'
The young soldier is only 19 years of age, and reached Egypt on November 28 last, and has been right through the Australians' campaign in France.
Another brother is in hospital in England, suffering from the effects of shell shook,
while Private Alton Chatwin was seven months in the trenches at Gallipoli. The three of them enlisted at Burnie, where they are well known.
A postcard of William Raymond Chatwin, 3583 of the 15th Battalion is appended with a photo of the Divisional Congratulatory Card from H V Cox, Commander 4th Division AIF, for his gallant conduct on the night of 8th / 9th August. No DCM was ever given, William Raymond was dead in less than five months, and the original recommendation seemed to have just sat in the recommendations unactioned apart from a post war mention of a Congratulatory Card on his service record. Here are the details of the action as recorded on the original Recommendation for an Award … “On the night of 8th / 9th August during operations north west of Pozieres Private W R Chatwin was with Corporal A R Evans assisting to get Lieut Plane who was badly wounded back to our lines and rendered valuable help in persuading the German prisoners at the point of the bayonet to carry Lt Plane in to our line. All this time the party were under heavy enemy machine gun fire.”


William Raymond Chatwin was one of three brothers who fought at Pozieres. The other brother Roy was in the 47th Battalion and Alton was in the 52nd Battalion. All 3 survived Pozieres but sadly William Raymond was KIA on the Somme on 31 December 1916 near Montauban about 8 kms from Pozieres.

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From 15th Battalion AIF
(From Dale Chatwin, great nephew)

For the past 15 years I have been looking for the young woman who wrote and published the poem recorded below in a Tasmanian newspaper in memory of my great uncle William Raymond Chatwin of the 15th Battalion AIF who was killed near Montauban on 31 December 1916. Her name was May Wesley, born in Zeehan, and she moved to Burnie in the second decade of the 20th century. May obviously had a sweet spot for Will. Recently I found where May Wesley lies. May Wesley never married, a fate which so many young women of the that time encountered, died in the early 1960s and now she lies in an unidentified grave in Botany Cemetery in Sydney. Despite my desire to see May properly honoured by our family and petitioning to see May Wesley formally acknowledged with a proper monument / grave my family are not permitted to honour her. That right is reserved only for the Office of Australian War Graves (for soldiers who served) or via a Supreme Court order in the State of NSW. This greatly saddens me and reminded me of a story about life in post WW1 Melbourne called "Sunday at Kooyong Road". The part which has always stuck with me is when the author describes church services in the 1920s filled with aisles of women but no young men - mothers, sisters and 'loving friends' as May Wesley describes herself. What a price was paid.

In loving memory of Corporal W.R. Chatwin, killed in action on December 31, 1916.

I picture your safe returning, Will,
And longed for the clasp of your hand,
But never will be the meeting
In Australia’s sunny land.

Now the war is really over,
Those words to some sound nice
But, oh, the sad, and hearts of those
Whose loved ones paid the price.

Inserted by his loving friend,
May Wesley, Burnie
The Advocate


Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

William Raymond CHATWIN was born in Wivenhoe, Burnie, Tasmania in 1897

His parents were Alfred John CHATWIN & Hannah EASTWOOD

He enlisted in Claremont, Tasmania on 13th August, 1915 & embarked from Melbourne on the ship Ulysses on 27th October, 1915 with the 15th Infantry Battalion

William was Killed in Action in France on 31st December, 1916 and is buried in Bernafay Wood British Cemetery

Medals:  1914-15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal


Two of his brothers also served in WW1

1. Alton CHATWIN  (SN 1822) -returned to Australia in 1919

2. Roy Alfred ChATWIN (SN 1011) - returned to Australia in 1919