Christopher ARMSTRONG

ARMSTRONG, Christopher

Service Number: 2342
Enlisted: 24 May 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 11th Infantry Battalion
Born: Busselton, Western Australia, 1 February 1895
Home Town: Yallingup, Busselton, Western Australia
Schooling: Yallingup and Margaret River State Schools, Western Australia
Occupation: Timber cutter/farm labourer
Died: Gun shot wound, Alexandria, Egypt, 23 August 1915, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery
Row K Grave 83, Chatby Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria, Egypt
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Busselton Cenotaph Victoria Square, Busselton Rotary Park Of Remembrance War Memorial, Busselton Rotary Park of Remembrance Memorial Walk, Busselton St Mary's Anglican Church Honour Roll, Margaret River War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

24 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2342, 11th Infantry Battalion
27 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2342, 11th Infantry Battalion, Enlisted at Busselton, WA
25 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, 2342, 11th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '10' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Karoola embarkation_ship_number: A63 public_note: ''
25 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, 2342, 11th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Karoola, Fremantle
6 Aug 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 2342, 11th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, Gunshot would to the back and abdomen
23 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2342, 11th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli

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Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Born in 1895 to a Yallingup farming family, Chris Armstrong was educated in schools at Yallingup and Margaret River. His family was one of the very earliest settler families to arrive in the state, when his great grandfather – an ex Captain in the Gordon Highlanders, emigrated from Scotland in 1829. Taking work where he could, the strapping young Chris worked variously as a timber man, sleeper cutter and a farmer.

At the outbreak of war, Chris, then aged 20 years, and blessed with his father’s permission, enlisted in the army in Busselton in late May 1915. He travelled to Perth to begin his army training at Blackboy Hill. This training period lasted for four weeks, and fortune found Chris boarding the troop ship HMAT A36 “Karoola” heading for Alexandria in June. Here he spent a very short time for further training and acclimitisation. Posted to the 11th Battalion 7th Reinforcements, Chris was very quickly to see action, being sent to the Dardanelles on July 31. The 11th Battalion was to make preparatory attacks at the southern end of the ANZAC position before the Battle of Lone Pine, and it would have been to this engagement that Chris was sent. In this battle, the battalion held off a fierce Turkish counter attack on their trench. The battalion suffered 41 killed, 94 wounded and 19 missing. Chris was amongst the wounded. He was shot in the back on August 6 1915, suffering abdominal wounds, spinal cord concussion and a damaged left kidney. He was admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearance Hospital at Heliopolis for stabilisation, and then transported by a hospital ship to the Alexandria Hospital in Egypt. This young man’s condition was so serious that he succumbed to wounds on August 23 1915.

His entire war service from enlistment to death was three months. Chris was buried by the Reverend Pasfield on August 24 in the Chatby Military Cemetery, Egypt.  If it is any small consolation, Chris is buried quite near to one of his cousins. Another note to this sad story: enquiries made by Chris’s family for news of “what happened to his kit?” resulted in a letter from the army administration in October 1916 saying: “no advice of the dispatch of any personal effects of sentimental value has been received.” Chris’s father, James Armstrong was executor to his estate and was entitled to a war pension of two pounds per annum. His next-of-kin were forwarded his service medals - 1914/Star,  British War Medal & Victory Medal and a Memorial Scroll and Plaque.