Hull Pals Memorial Post. PRIVATE GEORGE EDWARD CHAMBERS 28047. George was born Swinderb, in Lincolnshire, in 1876. He lived at 2 Hannah Terrace, St Pauls Street with his common law wife, Edith Eastburn. His mother and father had passed away and his only other living relative was a sister. He worked as a coal porter (1911 Census).
He enlisted in Hull on 03/05/1915. Served as Private, 3744 EYR. Posted to France, on 18/11/1915. He was gassed on 17/06/1916 and returned to England. Posted to France again on 27/09/1916. Transferred to the 10th EYR. Reported missing on 29/09/1918, having served in the army for 3 years and 180 days.
His army records state that he had been “Accepted as sufficient evidence for official purposes as having died” on 29th September 1918 during the attack on Ploegsteert Wood, though there had been no official record made. Edith had made numerous enquiries first as to his whereabouts, and then as to his War Pension, and it was eventually discovered that a story had been reported by a Private Wickins, 29221, to his superior officer concerning the potential fate of our man. Wickins was traced to a hospital in Chatham, Kent and his story requested. On 16th February 1919 he wrote the following letter, I shall leave it in his words as it says far more than I ever could:
“On the day in question I was serving in No.1 Platoon, A Coy of the 10th East Yorks, and the company was in a position to the left of Ploegsteert Wood. About mid-day we received instructions that we were to push forward to a railway line some distance ahead and to consolidate.
I was at that time a Section Commander of No.4 Section, No.1 Platoon (a Lewis Gun Section) and owing to the reduced strength of this Section, Pte’s Chambers, Vary and Douglas were lent to me from the Rifle Section as ammunition carriers.
At about 3 o’clock on the day in question we commenced to push forward and had proceeded about 200 yards with Pte Chambers leading, when a shell dropped just where Chambers was. Pte Vary was partially buried and badly shaken, but I could ascertain nothing as to Pte Chambers whereabouts and I therefore concluded that he must have been blown to pieces.”
In the aftermath of the wars end, when the battlefields were being scoured for the missing, something of George was discovered. How much I don’t know. Perhaps he was buried whole, perhaps they just turned up enough to identify him, but he received a full burial and his grave can be found at Strand Cemetery in Belgium.
His wife Edith, born in 1863, had already lost her son, Private, Albert Hirst, 1st Coldstream Guards, born on 22/12/1914, aged 20. She died in Doncaster in 1935.