William CHATHAM MiD

CHATHAM, William

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 14 November 1914, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 5th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Netherton, England, November 1881
Home Town: Warwick, Southern Downs, Queensland
Schooling: Worcester Grammar School
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Natural causes, Brisbane, Queensland, 12 January 1947
Cemetery: Mount Thompson Memorial Gardens & Crematorium
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

14 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Brisbane, Queensland
21 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 5th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
21 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 5th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Persic, Sydney
15 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 5th Light Horse Regiment, ANZAC Gallipoli
5 Aug 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 5th Light Horse Regiment, Battle of Romani, GSW (right leg)
1 Sep 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, 5th Light Horse Regiment
10 Oct 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, 5th Light Horse Regiment
26 Mar 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, 5th Light Horse Regiment, Battles of Gaza
28 Apr 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Major, 5th Light Horse Regiment

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

Son of George Robert Chatham and Sarah Radford of Stourbridge, Worcester, England

"Passing of Major Chatham. Post on Gallipoli was Named

Flags at the Warwick Soldiers' Club and at the Warwick Club were flown at half-mast yesterday following advice of the death in St. Martin's Hospital, Brisbane, on Sunday night of Major William Chatham. The late Major Chatham commanded a post on Gallipoli which became known, to those engaged in the campaign, and later to the world at large, as Chatham's Post. The death of Major Chatham, who had been a grazier of the Greymare district for a number of years and who was in his sixties, was hastened by First World War disabilities. At one period after his discharge he was an inmate of Randwick Military Hospital for about 12 months.

A native of Worcestershire (England), where he was educated at the Worcester Grammar School, he came to Australia at the age of 21, and commenced farming near Canning Downs. Subsequently one of the masters from his old school in England came to Warwick and commenceed a secondary school here on a property in Guy street which at the time belonged to Mrs J. R. Curnow. When this man died, Major Chatham, imbued with a desire to help his old master's descendants, practically quitted his farm and carried on the school for 12 months. However, he encountered adversity and the school closed. He then returned to his farm. Soon after the outbreak of the 1914-18 war, Major Chatham enlisted from Warwick, and was posted with commission rank to the Fifth Light Horse. He served in Egypt and then went to Gallipoli where as lieutenant, he had command of the post which became known to all troops on the Peninsula as "Chatham's Post," Following the taking of this post, he and his party successfully defended it despite continuous ttacks from the enemy who on occasions were only 30 yards away.

Later he served with the Fifth Light Horse under Colonel (now Sir) Donald Cameron. He was promoted to major and commanded a squadron during the Palestine campaign. After the war, he settled on "Evandale," well known Greymare, property, which he later sold to Mr. Clive Evans, who in turn sold to the present owner (Mr. McDonald). Following his sale of "Evandale,'' Major Chatham commenced grazing operations on a property not far away and remained in charge of it up to the time of his death. Major Chatham was described last night by friends as the truest type of English gentleman. Quiet and unassuming, he was a man whose knowledge on many subjects was profound. He was an avid reader and had a library of cultured books at his home, where he lived, alone as a bachelor, described as probably one of the best in southern Queensland. His knowledge of Shakespeare was probably second to none in the State, while his knowledge of the Bible, purely from a literary aspect was far beyond the ordinary. He was conversant with practically all books of merit. Major Chatham in his time, was a first class cricketer and he had few peers in regard to cricket history and rules. He played with the Zingari club for some years. Before leaving England the Drieley Club, of which he held the batting and bowling averages for that year, presented him with a trophy which he brought to Australia. His reputation as a great sportsman was fully maintained during his association with the game in Warwick. A fiend last night paid the following tribute to him: "Reading and education were the two great pleasures in Major Chatham's life. He missed his vocation, in my opinion. He probably would have been one of the greatest  school masters in the world because he was imbued with the true ideals of education, chivalry, and sportsmanship." 

Major Chatham preferred the open spaces and the outdoor life to that of the city, and thus he was not a frequent visitor to Warwick, where he was a member of the Warwick Sub-Branch of the RSL and of the Warwick Club. A lover of thoroughbreds, he kept records of pedigrees over many years. His funeral will take piace this morning to the Brisbane Crematorium, and old friends present to pay their last respects will include Major E. Costello, Dr J. S. Smyth, and Mr J. D. Rowland." - from the Warwick Daily News 15 Jan 1947 (nla.gov.au)

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