No. 420 Private Harold Chamberlain
Harold Chamberlain was born at Gobarup (near Rushworth) in 1889 to Charles Chamberlain and Catherine Carle. They were married in 1869.
The children of the marriage were:
- Emily - born at Springhurst 1870 - died 1952.
- Frederick (Fred) - born at Redcastle 1872 - died 1935.
- David - born at Redcastle 1874 - Died 1874.
- John (Jack) - born at Redcastle 1876 - Died 1932
- Annie Jane - born at Costerfield 1878 - Died 1912.
- Thomas Albert (Tom) - born at Costerfield 1882 - Died 1976.
- Nellie Amelia - born at Costerfield 1885.
- Herbert James - born at Rushworth 1887.
- Harold Herbert - born at Gobarup 1883 - Died at Perth 1964.
- Daisy Lavinia - born at Rushworth 1890 - Died 1991. (Married Claude Wilshier in 1914)
- Alma Roberta Dapeheny - born at Rushworth 1895. (Married Selwyn Clark in 1915)
- Ethel - (Married William Lawther in 1920)
Harold enlisted in the A.I.F in Western Australia on 22 September 1914, and was sent to the Black Boy Hill Camp for training. It is estimated that more than 32,000 Western Australians passed through the camp on their way to the front in the Middle East and Europe. The 16th Battalion had sourced three-quarters of its strength from Western Australia with the balance coming from South Australia.
He took the oath for service at Helena Vale in Western Australia on 16 October 1914, and was appointed to "C" Company. The soldiers from Western Australia arrived in Melbourne per S.S. Katoomba on 5 December 1914, and went to the main 16th Battalion at the Broadmeadows camp. The whole battalion then undertook a ceremonial march through Melbourne on the 17 December 1914.
Along with the 16th Infantry Battalion, Harold Chamberlain embarked at Melbourne, per HMAT Ceramic A40, on 22 December 1914, bound for Egypt. Prior to boarding, there had been two days of continuous rain at the Broadmeadows camp, and all ranks were thoroughly wet, and many had symptoms of Influenza. Their transport stopped at Albany to disembark several medical patients, and then proceeded to Alexandria via the Suez Canal.
Harold Chamberlain was part of the force that proceeded to join the M.E.P. on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 12 April 1915, and he participated in the first landings there. After serving on the front he contacted Pneumonia, and was treated on the Hospital Ship Devanha. It transferred him back to Alexandria on 6 May 1915, and on the 5 June 1915 he was admitted to the Citadel Hospital in Cairo, suffering from Myalgia. After treatment, he was assessed as fit for duty on 19 May 1915.
In about July of 1915, Harold was diagnosed as suffering from a displaced cartilage, and it was decided that he would return to Australia. Harold embarked at Suez per MHT Ballarat on 5 July 1915 for Australia, as medically unfit, and arrived back in Melbourne on 6 August 1915. He took a period of leave with his family in Werribee, and on 4 March 1916 he applied for a transfer to the 3rd Military District. While there, he applied for a discharge from the A.I.F. on 18 April 1916, and this was subsequently approved. He was discharged from the 3rd M.D. on 23 May 1916. Harold later applied for a War Pension, but this was rejected in October 1917 as he could not prove any incapacity.
Harold married Margaret Starkey at Perth in 1920, and returned to Werribee to farm.
A newspaper report in the local press described an accident that befell Harold Chamberlain of Duncan’s Road. He was critically injured while driving his jinker near Laverton. His wife and two children (Gwen 2½ & Erica 5 months) and mother in law Mrs Starkey were with him.
Werribee Shire Banner, 15 May 1924, p.7
A newspaper reported that ex-soldier and farmer Harold Herbert Chamberlain had spent 4 weeks in hospital, unconscious, after the accident. He then claimed £2,000 damages from the owner and driver of the car. The legal action was settled on 17 July 1925 when a jury awarded Harold £750. After the collision he had been thrown into the air, and landed head first on the motor car. Since the accident he was unable to work and was delusional.
Werribee Shire Banner, 16 July 1925, p.5
In the year before the accident it was claimed that he had cleared £350 from the sale of lucerne that he had grown on his farm.
Werribee Shire Banner, 17 July 1925, p.6.
In April 1926 Harold underwent a further operation to remove a fragment of bone from his skull. That was as a consequence to the collision in 1924.
Harold died in Western Australia in 1964, at the age of 75 years.
- When he enlisted in the A.I.F. he gave his name as Harold Chamberlain. When he signed the receipt for his War Service Medals, he wrote his name as "H. H. Chamberlain". He had added a second Christian name.
- His name is entered on the State School Honor Board, the Werribee Shire Council’s Oak Honor Board, and in the Werribee Banner’s Roll of Honor.
- He received a Werribee Shire Gold Medal on 10 May 1917.
- There is a photo of Harold in Army uniform on Ancestry, in the Wilshier/Chamberlain/Ashton/Campbell Tree.
- There is a photo of his sister Daisy Lavinia Wilshier (nee Chamberlain) on Ancestry, in the Wilshier/Chamberlain/Ashton/Campbell Tree.
- Harold and Margaret’s wedding is No. 1020/1920 at Perth, W.A.
- 1914-15 Star
- Victory Medal
- British War Medal
An obituary for Mrs Catherine Chamberlain (the mother of Pte. Harold Chamberlain) was published in Werribee Shire Banner, 6 January 1921, p.2. The report lists all of Harold’s siblings, and his deceased father’s name.
http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_11203.asp - AWM 16th Battalion history
Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888 CD
Digging for Gold by Helen Doxford Harris. 994.54 DOXF