Biography

Birth date: 1897
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Stanmore
Death date: 1978
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Newcastle
Final rank: Lieutenant
Service number: 2481 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 1st Australian Infantry Battalion

Benjamin William Champion was born at Stanmore, New South Wales, in 1897. Prior to the First World War he spent four years as an army cadet and developed a career as a dental apprentice. He enlisted as an 18-year-old with the Australian Imperial Force on 11 May 1915 after gaining his father's permission. Champion departed Sydney with reinforcements for the 1st Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Orsova on 14 July 1915.

In November 1915, Champion was sent to Gallipoli to join the 1st Battalion soldiers already serving on the peninsula. He was evacuated at the end of the month after sustaining wounds to the face and thigh. Champion rejoined his unit on the Western Front and was rapidly promoted through the ranks in 1916. His experiences at Lagnicourt, Broodseinde Ridge, and Passchendale are documented in detail in the diary he kept since the day he had enlisted. In one entry Champion mentions a German soldier who bandaged up a British soldier, only to be killed later; the allies subsequently erected the German soldier's grave. Champion's final promotion was to the rank of lieutenant in 1917, a year in which he again sustained wounds from battle.

The following year would be Champion's last on the front. On 15 April 1918, while at Pradelles, he sustained a shell injury to his left leg that was consequently amputated. Having been wounded in action three times and with the loss of his left leg, Champion returned for Australia in June.

Champion settled in the Newcastle area, where he established a dental practice. Several years after the war he married and remained in the Newcastle area until his death in 1978.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 14 July 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Sydney

Collection Items

Timeline

Date of birth 1897
Date of embarkation 1915-07-14
Date of death 1978