Lieutenant Percy (Poss) Errol Fortescue Chirnside
John Percy Chirnside (1865-1944) married Ethel Mary Fenner at All Saints’ Church, East St Kilda, on 21 September 1893.
Williamstown Chronicle, 25 February 1893, p.2.
They had four children:
- Percy Errol Fortescue Chirnside - born 1897 at Armadale, Victoria (Cert. 214/1897)
- John Bruce Chirnside - born 1901 at Werribee (Cert No.30805/1901) Died 1954
- Andrew Begbie Chirnside born 1906 at Melbourne East (Cert No.12211/1906) Died 1961
- Ethel Mary Chirnside - born 1909 at Werribee (Cert No.23763/1909)
While he was growing up, the family home was at The Manor, which his parents had built.
Percy Errol Fortescue Chirnside was always known as "Poss". He was educated at Geelong Grammar, and excelled in sports.
Like his father, he was enthusiastic about coursing, and they were both members of the Werribee Coursing Club.
After he finished school, Poss Chirnside went to England, to attend the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
Once he had reached his eighteenth birthday (in 1915), Gentleman Cadet Percy Errol Fortescue Chirnside, from the Royal Military College, was appointed as a Second Lieutenant with the 8th (King’s Royal Irish) Hussars, with effect from 11 August 1915. *
He then served with them during their campaigns in Germany, France, Egypt and Palestine, for the rest of his career.
In September 1915, the 8th Hussars transferred to the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. **
His unit fought at Bazentin and Flers-Courcelette in the Somme area during July of 1916. They took part in a mounted charge at Villers-Faucon, against heavily defended German positions
During the collapse of the German defences in 1918, the 8th Hussars fought at St Quentin, Beaurevoir, Cambrai and the Pursuit to Mons.
Over the period of the war, the unit had 105 soldiers killed.
'Poss' Chirnside remained with his unit in England, and married Dora Charlton in Shardlow, Derbyshire, in 1927, and his parents and sister travelled to England for the occasion.
ancestry.com – England & Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
There is a photo of 'Poss' with his mother and sister Molly being presented in Court at Buckingham Palace, in the book Wool past the winning post by Heather B. Ronald, on p.76.
'Poss' Chirnside rose to the rank of Major, and retired from the British Army in 1938. He re-joined in the following year, after the outbreak of WWII, and retired again in 1946 after reaching the rank of Colonel.
On 2 October1947, 'Poss' Chirnside sailed from London per the Stratheden bound for Melbourne. He was listed as an unaccompanied, ex-Army Officer, aged 50 years, and his last address was Wigginton Grange, Tamworth, England.
ancestry.com - UK Outward Passenger List 1890-1960
His service commitments meant that 'Poss' was rarely in Australia, but during a visit home in 1950, he became ill and died on 30 June 1950, in the Heidelberg Military Hospital.
The Age, 1 July 1950, p.2.
His funeral notice stated that the funeral of the late Lieut.-Col P.F. (Poss) Chirnside, late of the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, would leave from Taylor’s Chapel in Ivanhoe, for the Spring Vale Crematorium, on 3 July 1950.
The Age, 3 July 1950, p.10.
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: CHIRNSIDE, P. E. F.
His name is recorded on the Werribee Church of England Honour Board.
The name “Chirnside, Errol P. F. of Werribee”, first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 13 April 1916, p.1.
* Supplement to the London Gazette - https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29268/supplement/8257/data.pdf
** "The Hussars". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 August 2016.