Stanley Murray CHANNON

Badge Number: 3339, Sub Branch: Semaphore

CHANNON, Stanley Murray

Service Number: 1485
Enlisted: 26 November 1914, Oaklands, South Australia
Last Rank: Staff Sergeant
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Alberton, South Australia, January 1887
Home Town: Alberton, Port Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Natural causes, Adelaide, South Australia, 4 November 1946
Cemetery: Cheltenham Cemetery, S.A.
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World War 1 Service

26 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1485, Oaklands, South Australia
19 Feb 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1485, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Feb 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1485, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Runic, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 1485, 10th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
25 May 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Staff Sergeant, SN 1485, 10th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Stanley Murray Channon, service number 1485, was born in Alberton in 1887. Stanley Murray Channon was the typical clerk, working in an office, writing and keeping documents safe. He lived in Adelaide with no wife and no children. Stanley enlisted in the AIF on 3 December 1914.

Stanley had no previous military service. Stanley lived with his father, Joseph Channon in Alberton. Stanley had two brothers who also joined the war alongside him: Arnold James Channon (/explore/people/71065) (returned 11 June 1919) and Percival Allan Channon (/explore/people/203055) (killed in action 16 August 1916). 

Life in service

Stanley embarked Australia via Melbourne, Victoria. He was transported on the SS Runic on 19 February 1915. 

Stanley was then carried off to Egypt where his training commenced.

Training in Egypt was tough, long and tiring. The common week would contain training for eight hours a day, six days a week. all day long, Egypt was crowded with lines of men advancing, retiring, drilling while listening to their officer. For many of the battalions, many miles of the desert had to be covered in the morning and evening to and from their allotted training areas. At first, to harden the troops, they wore full kit with heavy packs. Their backs became drenched with perspiration, and the bitter desert wind blew on them as they camped for their midday meal and many deaths from pneumonia were attributed to this cause.

The training was fairly fundamental and simply the old British Army training, but little advice came from the Western Front to the tactics being used in this new form of modern trench warfare. The Australian and New Zealand officers had to rely almost on themselves. They had not seen a bomb and they had scarcely heard of a periscope so it could be argued that they were not prepared for what was to come. However, the view at the time was positive and a newly arrived officer from England remarked that the Australian Division was at least well trained as any regular division before the war.

While most of the soldiers trained in Egypt for four long months, Stanley had arrived very late. He then continued his journey to Gallipoli by boat in March 1915. He arrived on the peninsula with reinforcements on 7 May.

Stanley began his experience in Gallipoli, also known as the Dardanelles campaign. This was an unsuccessful attempt by the allied powers to control the sea route from Europe to Russia during world war one. The campaign began with a failed attack by British and French ships in March 1915 and continued with a major land invasion of the peninsula on April 25th, involving British and French troops. Due to the lack of intelligence and knowledge of the area and terrain, the invasion was unsuccessful. By October 1915, allied forces had suffered heavy casualties and had made little headway from their initial landing sites. Evacuation of the invasion commenced in December 1915. The invasion was a costly failure for the allies, 27 000 French and 115 000 British and Dominion troops were killed or wounded.

Many factors contributed to making the Gallipoli battlefield an almost unbearable place for all soldiers. The piercing noise, the unsanitary conditions, the diseases, terrible food and the depressed feel the battlefield would offer.

Incessant noise from shelling, bombing, artillery, machine-gun and rifle fire caused psychological and physiological problems for the soldiers. These included shell shock, stress from unceasing exposure to loud mechanical noises, hearing impairment and lack of sleep. The cramped conditions and steep terrain left few safe places for men to rest in the front line on Second Ridge above Anzac Cove. Severe exhaustion from lack of sleep caused by the constant noise in front-line positions such as Silt Spur, Quinn’s Post and Tasmania Post meant that many men fell asleep at their posts. Foo was rationed and included bully beef and biscuits. The food the soldiers were served provided no nutrition and was plain.   The poor nutritional content of the British rations contributed to the physical decline of the Anzac and British troops at Gallipoli. The unappetizing and unvaried diet affected the soldiers' morale and psychological well-being. It also increased their susceptibility to disease, which spread rapidly during the summer months of the campaign.

Stanley lasted only a few weeks before becoming ill with influenza, and being sent to Malta where his diagnosis was changed to pneumonia. He did not return to Gallipoli. On 1 October 1915 he was promoted Sergeant, and seems to have found work in the AIF's Records section. In late 1916 he was transferred to the BEF's Records section in Rouen, in France, and on 1 january 1917 promoted to Staff Sergeant. 

After the war

Stanley's courage and wisdom led him to success and got him through the entire war despite his sicknesses. Stanley returned home on the 7th of February 1919 with zero wounds. He is buried at the Cheltenham cemetery, where my entire family lives today. Stanley died on the 4th of November 1946 with various types of medals including the 1914-1915-star, British war medal and victory medal.