Richard George Chartier (Chart) PRIOR

PRIOR, Richard George Chartier

Service Numbers: 3337, W73121
Enlisted: 14 February 1917
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 44th Infantry Battalion
Born: Kanowna, Western Australia, 26 February 1899
Home Town: Subiaco, Nedlands, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Shop Assistant
Died: 30 Sep 1986 Beverley, WA, 30 September 1986, aged 87 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Beverley Catholic and Methodist Cemetery, Western Australia
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World War 1 Service

14 Feb 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 3337, 44th Infantry Battalion
29 Jun 1917: Involvement Private, 3337, 44th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '18' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Borda embarkation_ship_number: A30 public_note: ''
29 Jun 1917: Embarked Private, 3337, 44th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Borda, Fremantle
28 Mar 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 3337, 44th Infantry Battalion, German Spring Offensive 1918, GSW to right eye - blinded

World War 2 Service

14 Apr 1942: Enlisted W73121

Wanting but wounded.

Firstly in fond respect to my Mother (Nee Prior), Brother and Sister and along with my cousins (grandchildren) of Pte Richard George Chartier Prior (Pa or "Chart") I hereby apologise in advance if any offence occurs as a result of this post, but the following descriptions were from Pa himself when I had the gumption at a young age to ask him.

Arriving at the Front underage and also shorter than average he was assigned at first to carrying supplies across "duckboards" of which he slipped off on one occasion and not to be discovered until after some time, he said from this he contracted pneumonia from laying in the deep cold watery mud. Despite many other soldiers dying from this common disease of the time combined with wounds his high level of fitness prevailed and was soon back at work, this time as a messenger carrying vital messages forward and back, pa was a splendid athlete and so attended to this task by covering most of his face by his upturned trenching shovel when running forward. It was when running forwards that a bullet round hit the edge of the shovel ricocheting and burst into his right cheek taking out his right eye and also injuring his right hearing, Pa said he next remembered "coming around" in a field hospital with the surgeon describing our lucky he was that the bullet was actually an illegal one (In war!) called a "dum-dum" because it had been flattened off at its point in order to inflict more damage to the victim and so splinted upon its first impact on the shovel blade.

Pa was to be sent back to England to recuperate however he with other wounded men to some extent had to make their own way back, pa explained he who had both eyes bandaged carried another wounded soldier who could not walk. Upon becoming fit enough at a nursery in Chelsea England Pa embarked on what was to become another dangerous journey back to Australia, and so with the German U-Boats reeking havoc among the shipping lines his troop ship was torpedoed. After throwing someone else's back-pack into a life raft instead of his own he then yanked off his eye patches and jumped into the water leaving others that could not swim with the rafts boats and debris, Pa told me he distinctly remembers swimming past other "poor blighters" that could not swim like he could towards a passing "destroyer" boat that had slung nets over the side in order for survivors to clasp to, Pa said he knew that the destroyer would not slow or stop in fear of being torpedoed itself.

After being retuned to England again and then eventually back to Fremantle Australia Pa along with a few other Diggers were captured by photograph by a news paper reporter on the docks and consequently placed on the front page at the time with the story of course of the to be-returned ship of wounded Diggers torpedoed.

Copies of these photos will later be uploaded as our family have the original ones along with the newspaper clip of the time.
Stewart Ridgway (Grandson).

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