Name: Harry Chandler

 

Birth Date: 15 January, 1888 Where: Melbourne, Vic.
Died: 12 March, 1918 Where: Steenwerck, Flanders, France
Place of Enlistment: Black Boy Hill Age: 27
Serial Number: 1632 Battalion: 28th
Rank on Enlistment: Private Rank on Discharge/Death: Corporal

Awards: 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal 1914 - 1920, Victory Medal,

 

Photograph Chandler

Service Details:

 

 

2 March

1915                      Blackboy Hill Training camp

9 June

1915                      Embarked from Fremantle

August

1915                      Embarked Egypt

10 Sept. – 12 Dec.

1915                      Gallipoli

21 March

1916                      France

6/7 June

1916                      Trench Raid

29 July – 27 Aug.

1916                      Pozieres (Sausage Valley)

4 August

1916                      Pozieres

6 September

1916                      Belgium

October

1916                      Ypres and Dernacourt

3 November

1916                      Battle of Ancres Heights & Fricourt

11 November

1916                      To Hospital

28 May

1917                      Signals School, England

9 June

1917                      From Signals School

16 September

1917                      Promoted Corporal

23 October

1917                      Rejoined Battalion

26 October

1917                      Battle of Passchendale (Ypres)

December

1917                      Red Lodge

12 March

1918                      Killed in Action, Steenwerck

 

 

 

 

Biographical Details:

Harry Chandler was born in Melbourne in 1888. His family moved to WA in the 1890’s.  In 1898 his father, James Chandler, was convicted of assaulting his wife while drunk. In October, 1906 Harry was a deckhand on a yacht, The Sadie, hired by Harry and three friends. They had picked up a party of friends and relatives at Crawley and were sailing to Point Walter when a sudden squall swamped and sank the Sadie. Five of the 17 on board the 18ft. boat drowned, including Harry’s 14 year old sister Rose.  Harry was able to assist his mother and another sister, Ethyl, who both survived. A subsequent coroner’s inquest found the deaths to be accidental and did not apportion blame.


Perhaps because of his daughter’s death and a gradual breakdown of marriage resulting from his tendency to violence but in 1908 Harry’s father abandoned his family and moved back to Victoria and then SA.  Harry’s older brother Ernest also moved to Adelaide where he married and enlisted in the AIF, in January 1915.  He survived the war and was given a medical discharge late 1918.


Harry enlisted in the 28th battalion, March 1915 and transferred to Reg. Signals in August. He served in Egypt and Gallipoli.  In May 1916 he volunteered, as a signaller, to take part in a raid on German trenches. He was one of 2 signallers whose duty was to follow the scouts and lay line for telephone communications with the Officer Commanding attack (Capt. Robinson).


In early August 1916 Harry’s record was marked:  Absent from duty 57 days VD
This was in keeping with the AIF’s initial policy to name and shame soldiers contracting VD.  Soldiers were not paid while receiving treatment.  It is likely that Harry contracted Gonorrhoea while enjoying the 8 day special leave that the raiders were awarded.


In May 1917 Harry qualified as an assistant instructor at the Weymouth Signals School. Later that same year he was promoted Corporal.
On 12 March 1918, the C.O. of the 28th battalion made the following note in the battalion’s war diary.


Casualty. 
Cpl. Chandler of signallers whilst preparing a wire outside line Hqrs at Grand Rebecque Farm was fatally wounded by a shell although this N.C.O. had one leg blown off and one badly shattered he tapped in on the wire and sent the information of his casualty to Headqrs – He died at the Aid Post 2 hrs later.


Cpl. Harry Chandler was buried at the London Rifle Brigade Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert.


In April 1919 Harry’s mother wrote to the AIF seeking a death certificate as confirmation of Harry’s death.  She finished this letter with:
If this sad news is true, I cannot mourn his end for I’d rather have him lie on the Battlefield Glory than stand with the crowd that said no & he was my all.
Again in May 1919 Mrs Chandler wrote to the AIF asking about Harry’s personal effects. Unfortunately all of Harry’s belongings had been on the H.M.A.T. Barunga, the only Australian ship lost carrying personal effects of deceased Australian soldiers. It is ironic that the only known surviving copy of the Black Anzacs group photograph was one that Harry had sent his mother late 1916.


In 1920 the AIF contacted Mrs Chandler seeking her husband’s address. Although Harry had left a will leaving everything to his mother regulations for the distribution of medals places a father above a mother. Mrs Chandler’s response that she hadn’t seen her ex-husband for over 12 years and that he would be an unworthy recipient of Harry’s medals resulted in Mrs Chandler being awarded Harry’s medals.  Strangely, although Harry was eligible for the 1914/15 Star it was never issued.