Recently I discovered that two of my ancestors, 1st cousins twice removed, died in the ANZAC campaign. It was the first active service they both saw.
They were my Grandmothers cousins. Somehow it seems more real when I realise that someone I knew and loved so well, would have grown up with these young men and mourned their loss with the rest of the family.
Harold Heathcote Hayes Chambers (yes, seriously, that was what he was known as – he even signed his name HHH Chambers) enlisted on 22nd October 1914. He was 20 and my Grandmother would have been 14. They lived in the same small town as children so would have known each other very well. HHH was in the first wave of infantry to land at Gallipoli – his first major campaign. He was killed in action on 28th April 1915. Just 3 days after the first Anzac Day. He was buried at Beach Cemetary at the southern point of Anzac Cove.
Stanley Chambers was just 18 when he enlisted with the 8th Light Horse. He landed at Gallipoli on 17th September 1915 and 6 days later he was dead. He was buried at Main Cemetary at Gallipoli.
The Ballarat Star reported Stanley’s death on Saturday 16th October 1915. In the same story mention is made of HHH Chambers and also another cousin who was killed on the same day as Stanley. It goes on to say “There are at least 14 members of various branches of the Chambers family at the front.”
So my quest now is to find them all. So far I have only found 6.
Another member of the Chambers family who served was Herbert (Bert) Chambers. He had a very fortunate war in comparison to his nephews. I have recently completed a fully referenced biographical essay on Bert’s story. A much longer and more detailed story which can be read here.