Oscar Mackechnie CHILVERS

CHILVERS, Oscar Mackechnie

Service Number: 762
Enlisted: 10 September 1914, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: Clifton Hill, Victoria, Australia, 10 May 1891
Home Town: Meckering, Cunderdin, Western Australia
Schooling: Scotch College, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, france, 15 August 1916, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Courcelette British Cemetery
Plot V111, Row F, Grave 10
Memorials: Bealiba Memorial Gate Posts, Fremantle Union Bank of Australia Ltd. West Australian Staff Roll of Honour, Heidelberg Scots' Presbyterian Church Memorial Window WW1, Heidelberg Scots' Presbyterian Church Roll of Honor, Heidelberg War Memorial, Meckering War Memorial, Northam Fallen
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World War 1 Service

10 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
2 Nov 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, 762, 11th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Nov 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, 762, 11th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Fremantle
25 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Staff Sergeant, 762, 11th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, GSW left arm and side
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Staff Sergeant (CQMS), 762, 11th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
29 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Staff Sergeant Major, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1)
12 Mar 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1)
15 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 51st Infantry Battalion (WW1), Battle for Pozières

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Oscar Mackechnie CHILVERS was born on 10th May, 1891 in Clifton Hill, Victoria

His parents were George James CHILVERS and Elizabeth Eleanor MACKECHNIE

He enlisted in Blackboy Hill in Western Australia on 10th September 1914 with the Australian Army - he joined up with  the 11th Infantry Battalion, C Company - Unit embakred from Fremantle WA on board the transport ship Ascaniuis on 2nd November, 1914

His rank on enlistment was Lance Sergeant Pay & Orderly Room Corporal - he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and was transferred to the 51st Battalion 

Oscar was Killed in Action on 15th August, 1916 - he is buried in the Courcelette British Cemetery in France & also commemorated at the Australian War Memorial

He saw service in Egypt, Gallipoli and the Western Front - medals awarded were 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal




Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Second Lieutenant Oscar Mackechnie Chilvers
51st Australian Infantry Battalion, C Company,
3rd Platoon, 13th Brigade, 4th Australian Division
Through the fields of the Somme, bathed in peace and light, stand solemn and forever young a whole generation of men united in camaraderie and brotherhood who more than a hundred years ago left their homes behind, the love of their families to answer the call of duty, to do their part through the poppies of northern France and who, with determination, for freedom, gathered around hopes for peace, gave their today in the prime of their young lives and who, proudly alongside their brothers in arms, served, fought day and night in the mud and blood of the trenches, sacrificed the best years of their lives and had for only youth a world in war, the fury and brutality of the battlefields through which they charged bayonets forward under machine gun fire, through rains of bullets and shells that shattered the lives of these heroes who far from home,for a country they did not know well, did and gave so much and where after so much pain, after so much bloodshed, ferocity and suffering, found the peace of their last resting places between which grow the roses and the flowers of remembrance which remind us of the sacrifices they made for us who have the privilege and the chance to live in peace thanks to them who gave their youth, their everything for that we remain united around them, around the peace for which they fell and in which I will always watch over them to take care of the memory of these young men, to honor their memory and their lives so that they will never be forgotten, so that their names live forever.

Today, it is with the utmost respect and with the deepest gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who gave his today for our tomorrow. I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Second Lieutenant Oscar Mackechnie Chilvers who fought in the 51st Australian Infantry Battalion, C Company, 3rd Platoon, 13th Brigade, 4th Australian Division, and who was killed in action 106 years ago, on August 15, 1916 at the age of 25 during the Battle of the Somme.
Oscar Mackechnie Chilvers was born on May 10, 1891 in Clifton Hill, Victoria, Australia, and was the son of George James Chilvers (1856-1921), and Elizabeth Eleanor Chilvers (née Mackechnie, 1861-1931), of Heidelberg, Victoria. He was educated at Scotch College and after graduation worked as a bank clerk at Union Bank in Meckering, Western Australia, where he lived.

Oscar enlisted on September 10, 1914 at Blackboy Hill, Western Australia, as a Lance Serjeant and Orderly Room Corporal in the 11th Australian Infantry Battalion, G Company. After a training period of less than a month at Blackboy Hill Camp, near Perth, he embarked with his unit from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A11 Ascanius on November 2, 1914 then after a quick stop in Egypt on March 2,1915, embarked on board "HMT Suffolk" for the Gallipoli peninsula.

On April 25, 1915, Oscar and the 11th Battalion were disembarked at Gallipoli where they joined the MEF (Mediterranean Expeditionary Force).Like its sister Battalions in the 3rd Brigade, the 11th Battalion would go on to make history at Gallipoli as part of the Covering Force,the first ashore. The 11th Battalion landed at Anzac on 25th April 1915, led by Lieutenant Colonel James Johnston, the officer who had raised the battalion. Ten days after the landing, a company from the 11th Battalion mounted the AIF's first raid of the war against Turkish positions at Gaba Tepe, led by the redoubtable Major Raymond Leane who subsequently commanded the 11th and 48th Battalions.

Unfortunately, during the landing of the 11th Battalion in ANZAC, Oscar was wounded by bullets in the side and in his left arm. He was immediately evacuated to Egypt and admitted to the 15th General Hospital then transferred to the Convalescent Hospital of Mustapha on June 4, 1915, was discharged to duty on June 23 and embarked from Alexandria two days later on board "HMT Minnewaska" for the Dardanelles.

On August 30, 1915, Oscar was once again disembarked under the heat of the Gallipoli sun but was admitted to the 1st Field Ambulance, joined his unit on September 2 at ANZAC,and a few days later, on September 8, was evacuated and admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station suffering from chronic diarrhea and evacuated to Mudros, Greece then embarked on board "HMT Assaye" for Egypt and arrived in Alexandria on September 11 then admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital and the 1st Auxiliary Hospital of Heliopolis.

On October 1, 1915, Oscar was transferred to Alexandria and admitted to the British Red Cross Hospital in Montasah, then the following month, on November 7, he was discharged to duty and taken on strength at the Overseas Base in Mustapha, joined his unit on November 15 in Zeitoun and embarked for Greece on board "Themistocles".

On November 19, 1915, Oscar arrived in Greece and was disembarked at the Australian and New Zealand Base in Mudros then was discharged to unit the following day at Sarpi Camp and on January 7, 1916, moved back to Alexandria, Egypt, and was transferred the next month at Serapeum on 29 February in the 51st Australian Infantry Battalion,C Company, which was raised during the process that was known as "doubling the AIF" to create the 4th and 5th Divisions. The nickname of the 51st Battalion was "The eyes and ears of the North", had for motto "Ducit Amor Patriae" (Love Of Country Leads Me) and under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Murray Ross, a regular British Army officer.

On March 1, 1916, Oscar was taken on strength with the 51st Battalion in Tel-El-Kebir and was promoted shortly after to the rank of Quartermaster and to the rank of Second Lieutenant on March 12 in Ismailia, fought courageously during the campaign of the defense of the Suez Canal against the Ottoman forces and on June 5, alongside his comrades, was sent to join the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in Alexandria then embarked the same day on board "Ivernia" and proceeded overseas for France.

On June 12, 1916, after a week-long journey on the Mediterranean Sea, Oscar arrived in France and was disembarked in Marseilles where the 51st Battalion embarked by train for Caestre (Hauts-De-France) which they reached two days later,then on June 16, marched into billets at Sailly-Sur-La-Lys where the battalion followed a period of training including anti-gas exercises and on June 26, entered the trenches of the Rue Petillon sector, near Armentieres where they fought until July 12 then the next day, received the order to move by train, this time for the Somme front.

On July 14, 1916, Oscar and the 51st Battalion arrived in the Somme, in the village of Doullens then marched into billetss for Halloy where the men followed a new period of training including wood fighting exercises. On July 29, the battalion marched for Herissart for other training exercises including training marches via Puchevillers and rapid bayonet charges.

On August 1, 1916, the 51st Battalion and Oscar left Herissart and marched the next day for Vadencourt and Warloy-Baillon, went to Albert on August 6 but six days later, on August 12, the time came for the battalion to do their part and joined the front line in the trenches standing opposite the Mouquet Farm at Pozieres and occupied a position called "Wire Trench".
Unfortunately, it was three days later, on August 15, 1916, that Oscar met his fate.

at 10:00 pm on August 15, 1916, during a night attack aimed at taking and holding Mouquet Farm, the 51st Battalion, with the support of the 49th, 13th and 50th Australian Infantry Battalion, after an intense bombardment of the German lines by Australian artillery, launched across no man's land but the bombardment was not effective and four enemy machine guns decimated the two waves of attacks including Oscar who was wounded in action while leading his men with bravery, he was 25 years old.

The circumstances of his death are not exactly known but it would seem that several witnesses declared that Oscar was wounded in the leg and on the side while leading the charge on Mouquet Farm, he then took shelter in a shell hole and asked for the help of stretcher-bearers who could not help him until the next day. They helped Oscar to get up but at that moment he would have lost his nerves and refused to be helped.Later, other stretcher-bearers came to try to help Oscar but they found him dead.

Today, Second Lieutenant Oscar Mackechnie Chilvers rests in peace alongside his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Courcelette British Cemetery, Somme.

Oscar, young and proud, confident and determined, it is with faith and courage that you took a step forward to join the ranks of your comrades alongside whom you answered with honor and loyalty to the call of duty to do what was right, to serve your country, to fight with bravery in the name of values ​​that guided your heart on the battlefields of the great war and in these dark days, it is with an invincible ardor and in the prime of your life that 'after a last embrace in the arms of your loved ones, after a last farewell to the warmth, the love of your home that you wore your slouch hat under the rising sun while wearing high the colors of Australia, of a freedom-loving people and that you walked alongside your friends behind the sounds of bagpipes and drums that guided the steps of a whole generation to sail on the oceans towards an unknown destination, towards an uncertain destiny but animated forward by the deep desire to fight,, they went towards their destiny with their heads held high, for them, victory was certain and in April 1915, it was under the crushing heat, in the smell of gunpowder and blood that they were disembarked on the beaches of Gallipoli and here, in the red sand, their hopes of a short war, of a great glorious adventure were swept away in the crash of the explosions and saw their comrades who, under the bullets of the Turkish machine guns were decimated and turned the waters of the Mediterranean Sea to blood but in the hell of the Dardanelles, was born the reputation of bravery of the Australian soldiers and the spirit of ANZAC, a spirit of courage, of endurance, a spirit of duty, of love of country ans mateship, and good humor and the survival of a sense of self-worth and decency in the face of dreadful odds.This spirit led them together through the burning hills of Lone Pine, under rifle fire at The Nek and prayed to God to be spared but they were ordered to go over the top and were mowed down one after another under the helpless eyes of their friends who had to live with these nightmarish visions that haunted their thoughts and lived day and night tormented by the deep fear of never returning home, of being killed and dying forgotten on soils on which flowed the blood of the whole Australian nation which lost so many of its sons who, bruised and with a heavy heart, had to leave behind their brothers in arms under the rows of their wooden crosses, the only traces of too short lives which were shattered in the hell of the war, a war that was far from over and in those dark hours the young Diggers had to return to the old steamboats whose decks were once full of smiles and hopes but on which now flowed so many tears.Gallipoli was for these young men a hell of blood and lead and hoped that the worst of trials was now behind them but orders were told to them that they would now fight in the north of France and were thrown into the apocalypse which was called Pozieres, a slaughterhouse made of mud and rains of blood, a putrid quagmire in which they were hammered and crushed by the fury of merciless artillery under which they were often buried alive and thrown through the air in the blast of explosions who lifted and turned the earth in the smell of death. Days and nights, without rest, they had to face the mournful symphony of shells which rained destruction and death on the shoulders of these young heroes who carried the terrible burden of a abominable war which, in seven weeks of horrific fighting which was among the deadliest for the AIF, claimed the lives of 23,000 young Diggers, many of whom were never found and despite catastrophic losses, they still held on admirably, their courage was never overwhelmed, their determination was never broken and after Pozieres moved forward for Mouquet Farm, to a new hell that claimed the lives of 11 000 young Australians who fell in 19 courageous attacks under a deluge of bullets, wave after wave, they charged again and again through no man's land on what were once green and peaceful fields on which the cows silently grazed and which, under tons of shells, were massacred, forever bruising these sacred grounds which were scarified by barbed wire, by trenches in which so many young boys lived and died during one of the deadliest battles of the 20th century. In chaos and fury, these men faced their fears and found in each other the strength and courage to go over the top and until their last breath stood by the brothers and friends they had grown up with. and with whom they now rest in peace among the poppies, in the silence of the white cities that stand above the old front lines on which a whole generation of heroes are and will always be remembered behind the shadows of their white graves and on which I will always watch with gratitude and respect to honor the memory of these heroes so that their stories and sacrifices will never be forgotten, so that their names may live on forever. Thank you so much Oscar, for everything. At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him, we will remember them.