Walter Vernon CHASE


CHASE, Walter Vernon

Service Number: 378
Enlisted: 1 August 1914
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Clarendon, 25 August 1894
Home Town: Clarendon, Onkaparinga, South Australia
Schooling: Clarendon, South Australia
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in Action, Mouquet Farm, France, 16 August 1916, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
Plot 4, Grave 34, Row N, Pozieres British Cemetery Ovillers-La Boisselle, Pozieres, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hindmarsh Federated Brick, Tile & Pottery Industrial Union Roll of Honor, Norwood Primary School Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

1 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 378, 10th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 378, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
16 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 378, 50th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Walter Vernon Chase

Rebecca Girdler migrated from England in 1853 with her parents and six siblings on the ship “Marshall Bennett”. During the trip her father William a shoe-maker, died leaving the remaining family to arrive in the new country. Rebecca was 11 years of age at the time. At the age of 27 she married a widow with nine children and had a boy Walter Vernon and two daughters Ella and Gertrude. With her upbringing Rebecca was not unused to hardship, but to ask for Threepence for a photograph of her only son’s grave would have been extremely testing. It was six years after being notified of his death when the war department sent a letter to her requesting this amount in either postage stamps or a Postal Note.
Private Walter Vernon Chase no 378 was killed on Monquet Farm, France on 16th August 1916 during a field battle when he was shot in the back. His body was behind the firing line but eventually brought back to the dressing station and then buried at Sausage Gully just outside of Albert, in France with a small wooden cross marking it. Some six years later in May 1922 his remains were re-interned at Plot 4, grave 34, row N of the Pozieres British Cemetery and it was this final resting place that his Mother Rebecca wished a photograph. The photograph, with other possessions of , a Game of “House”, a Book, Tin containing letters and Postcards, Photos and a Purse with 9 coins in it were all that remained of this 22year old young man. Walter was born at Clarendon, South Australia on 25th August 1894 to George and Rebecca Chase , and was classed as a laborer. He was six years old when his father George died. Enlisting at Morphetville in Adelaide
on 20th August 1914 he embarked with the 10th Battalion A.I.F. on 20th October that year on the ship Ascanius bound for Gallipoli and the war front. Soon after arriving in England the Battalion was sent to the Dardanelles in Belgium on the Gallipoli Peninsular, known as the “Dard”. The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Canakkale. It was a campaign of World War I that took place between April 1915 and January 1916. The peninsula forms the northern bank of the Dardanelles, a strait that provides a sea route to what was then the Russian Empire, one of the Allied powers during the war. Intending to secure it, Russia's allies Britain and France launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula with the eventual aim of capturing the capital of Constantinople. The naval attack was repelled and, after
eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign also failed and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt. The campaign was one of the greatest victories during the war and a major Allied failure. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the nation's history: a final surge in the defense of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. The campaign is often considered as marking the birth of national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand and the date of the landing, 25 April, is known as “Anzac Day” ". It remains the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in those two countries. It was in this campaign that Walter was first wounded.
He returned to duty a month later in July 1915 and embarked for Egypt on the HMAT Seang-Bee, which was one of a fleet of transport ships leased by the Commonwealth government for the specific purpose of transporting the various AIF formations to their respective overseas destinations. It was then that he
transferred to the 50th Battalion and proceeded on the ship Serapeum to continue fighting in France. It was six months later he was reported as wounded in action and on 16th Aug 1916 reported as “killed in action”. On March 10th 1917, Rebecca Chase was granted a pension of Two pounds a fortnight and eventually received three photographs of her son’s grave. In 1920 Rebecca advised the War Department that she wished a Star of David be inscribed on the headstone and was informed that this was symbolical of the Jewish community and suggested that the cross would more appropriate. She died at the age of 93 years in Adelaide

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