|Last Post film
Australian War Memorial
|Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
|8 February 2018
First World War, 1914-1918
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
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The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1634) Bombardier Stanley Francis Chippindale, 25th Brigade AFA, First World War.
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 (1634) Bombardier Stanley Francis Chippindale, 25th Brigade AFA, First World War.
1634 Bombardier Stanley Francis Chippindale, 25th Brigade AFA
DOW 17 August 1916
Story delivered 19 February 2018
Today we remember and pay tribute to Bombardier Stanley Francis Chippindale.
Stanley Chippindale was born in 1894 to John and Alice Chippindale of Parramatta, New South Wales. Stanley’s mother died in 1904, when he was ten years old. His father, who worked as a letter carrier for the Granville Post Office, remarried seven years later. By this time, Stanley had attended the Marist Brothers’ School, and was working as a shop assistant for a Mr H. Quigley of Church Street in Parramatta.
Stanley Chippindale made four attempts to enlist before being accepted for service in the Australian Imperial Force in 1915. In early October he left for active service overseas with reinforcements to the light horse.
He was first sent to Egypt to continue his training, and was joined there in the new year by the Australian battalions that had recently been evacuated from the Gallipoli Peninsula. During this time the AIF underwent a period of expansion and reorganisation. It became clear to Chippindale that the Light Horse were unlikely to be sent to France to fight, and would remain in the Middle East. In order to be able to fight the Germans, Chippindale transferred to the artillery, and was posted to the 52nd Battery of the 25th Brigade Field Artillery. During the transfer he exchanged the rank of trooper for that of bombardier.
Chippindale left Egypt in mid-June to fight on the Western Front. The the 5th Australian Division, with which his artillery brigade belonged, was the last to arrive in France, but it was the first to see major action. On 19 July 1916 the guns of the 25th Brigade Field Artillery fired a bombardment to support the infantry attack at the battle of Fromelles. Fromelles is now known as the worst day in Australia’s military history, with the 5th Australian Division suffering 5,533 casualties.
During the operation, Bombardier Chippindale served as a telephone specialist in the front lines. His role was vital in maintaining communication between an artillery observation officer in the front line and the artillery batteries far behind. In the early stages of the battle, Chippindale’s party was buried by an exploding shell, but he managed to dig himself out. Somehow Chippindale became separated from the rest of his party. He found them later, having spent the time digging fruitlessly for his lost comrades.
Chippindale was eventually wounded severely enough to be evacuated from the front line. The forward observation officer, Lieutenant Johnson wrote to his parents to say:
When your son had his wounds dressed he went away to hospital. He was very cheery and bright, and I thought then he would pull through flying.
Chippindale was sent to hospital in England to recover from serious wounds to the chest and arm. He wrote to his father in August, saying:
Just a line to let you know I am now lying wounded in above hospital and not feeling too good. At first they thought that the wounds in in my chest were not very severe. Since being X-rayed they find that there is a shrapnel pellet in my left breast. After being in hospital two days I went to a garden party and caught a chill which developed [into] pneumonia. Yesterday the doctor operated on my left lung and to-day I am feeling terribly sore.
The nursing sister who attended him in hospital spoke very highly of Chippindale, and expected him to make a full recovery. However, on the night of 16 August 1916, he took a sudden turn for the worse, and died of pneumonia the following day. Stanley Chippindale never knew he had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his work at Fromelles – the list including his name was published two days after his death.
Lieutenant Johnson later wrote to Chippindale’s parents to say:
Your son earned his honour, and I know died a hero and a credit to his father and mother. All possible care was taken of him, and but for complications setting in, he would be alive now.
Bombardier Stanley Chippindale was buried in St Andrew’s and Jesmond Cemetery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne under the words, “His face as fresh today as when he sailed away.”
Stanley Francis Chippindale was 21 years old.
His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among almost 62,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Bombardier Stanley Francis Chippindale, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
Historian, Military History Section