The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2821) Private Eric Henry Chambers, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Pozieres
Accession Number AWM2016.2.75
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 15 March 2016
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (2821) Private Eric Henry Chambers, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2821 Private Eric Henry Chambers, 10th Battalion, AIF
KIA 25 July 1916
Photograph: H06293

Story delivered 15 March 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Eric Henry Chambers.

Eric Chambers was born on 15 July 1893, the eldest son of Alfred and Ellen Chambers of Adelaide. He attended the Gilles Street Public School and went on to become a telephone mechanic, working in the telephone department of the general post office in Adelaide.

Chambers enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in June 1915. After a short period of training in Australia he left with the 9th reinforcements to the 10th Battalion. Before he left a farewell social was held in his honour at the Victoria Hotel. During the celebration he was presented with a watch and a case of pipes.

Private Chambers went into training on his arrival in Egypt, and spent a few short weeks on Gallipoli before the evacuation at the end of 1915. He continued training in Egypt, and in March 1916 left to fight on the Western Front. He arrived in Marseilles with his battalion and headed north to the deadlocked battlefield.

The 10th Battalion’s first major engagement on the Western Front occurred near the French village of Pozières. On 23 July 1916 the 10th Battalion attacked German positions to the north-east of the village as part of the second wave of the assault. As they moved into position the men were heavily shelled with gas and high-explosives, but despite heavy casualties the 10th Battalion launched its attack on time.

The operation continued for several days to ensure the newly captured village would remain in Australian hands, and the 10th Battalion was not relieved until 25 July, having suffered 350 casualties.

One of those killed in action was Private Eric Chambers. Little is known of the manner of his death, but records show that it probably occurred on 25 July as the battalion prepared to leave the front line. His body was never recovered, and today he is commemorated on the memorial to the missing at Villers-Bretonneux. He was 23 years old.

A small package of Private Chambers’ personal effects was sent home to his family after his death. In it was his leaving present: a collection of four pipes, damaged from their time at war.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during the First World War. His
photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Eric Henry Chambers, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2821) Private Eric Henry Chambers, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)