Ernest Henry CHAMBERS MM

Badge Number: 79862, Sub Branch: Whyalla

CHAMBERS, Ernest Henry

Service Number: 731
Enlisted: 12 May 1915, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 18th Infantry Battalion
Born: Alexandria, New South Wales, 14 April 1895
Home Town: Mascot, Botany Bay, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer/Storeman
Died: Whyalla, South Australia, 9 October 1978, aged 83 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

12 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Liverpool, New South Wales
25 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 731, 18th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '12' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Ceramic embarkation_ship_number: A40 public_note: ''
25 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 731, 18th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Sydney
11 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 731, 18th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Honoured Military Medal

Ernest Chambers

Ernie Chambers was the first of three brothers to enlist in the first AIF. He was working as a labourer and living with his family at Berry St Mascot. He was 5 foot 9 with fair hair and grey eyes. He enlisted into the 18th Bn and was a member of B company.

Ern's unit sailed for Egypt on board the Ceramic on the 25th of June 1915. Also with him was his cousins James Henry Thompson and Wilmore Harry Thompson.

They arrived at Gallipoli on the 19th of August and ordered into action on the 22nd of August with an attack on Hill 60. The 18th was decimated with casualties of 360 out of 760 men that went into action.

Ern was wounded in the right leg, and he was lucky to survive. He was sent to the 3rd General Hospital in Wandsworth England arriving there on the 9th of September 1915.

He left the hospital on the 14th of January 1916, and returned to the 18th Bn which at this stage was now in France. He was promoted to Corporal and thence Sergeant.

Ern met and married his wife Flo whilst in the UK and they were married on the 10th of July 1917.

Ern was wounded again in November 1917 in the right hand.

In the great battle of Amiens on the 9th of August 1918. Ern was recommended for the DCM for bravery, this was altered to the Military Medal for which he was awarded.

" In the advance of the 9th of August 1918 towards RAINCOURT , East of AMIENS, Ern was acting as the CSM of his company. IN spite of exceptionally heave fire from Machine guns , anti tanks and artillery, Sergeant Chambers dashed forward at the head of a large party and dislodged two MG posts which were inflicting casualties. He showed utter disregard to personal safety during the consolidation of the attack at a stage where encouragement and example were essential to hold the ment together.

Ern was wounded again on the 23rd of October with a bullet to the left side of the chest which was not able to be removed.

Ern was sent back to the UK to the Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Ern, his wife Flo and their daughter Kathleen returned to Australia on the 19th of June 1919 on the ship Ormonde.

Ern was able to find work , although life must have been hard, their daughter Kathleen passing away in 1921.

Ern loved Rugby League and despite having a bullet in him was of sufficient skill and fitness to play 8 games of first grade for the St George Dragons in the 1925 - 1926 seasons.

Flo missed the UK and in 1933, they returned to England and were living near Bournemouth. They lost another daughter Betty to pneumonia in 1935 at the age of 15. Ern's only surving child , Bob who had been born in Australia decided that he wanted to return to the land of his birth and in 1960 emigrated to Whyalla in South Australia.

Ern and Flo the returned to Australia in 1961 and settled in Whyalla. Two of his brothers visited him in May 1961.

Very sadly they outlived all of their children, Bob died in 1963. Ern died on the 9th of October 1978 and is buried at Whyalla Cemetery. Flo returned to Weymouth England and died in November 1982 aged 87.

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