Lance Corporal John Chamberlain died 26-09-1916 aged 37
John Chamberlain was born in 1879 in Upavon, to William and Elizabeth, in the 1881 census John has a sister Elizabeth who is 4, William, his father, is an Agricultural Labourer at this time.
In 1891 John has 2 new brothers and 2 new sisters the last sister has very recently been born and hasn’t got a name yet, John at this time is 12 and is a Plough Boy, John’s father William is now a Carter on a Farm.
By 1901 John is now a Carter on the Farm, the Family is still living in Upavon, and John’s Father is now an Agricultural Labourer.
The family is still living in Upavon in 1911, John’s Father William is still a Labourer on a farm, John and his brother Henry are both Under Carters and his other brother Robert is a Shepherd. The family had 7 Children of which 5 are still alive.
It’s not known when John Chamberlain joined the army, but it appears he originally joined the Hampshire Regiment, and then moved to the 5th Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment, and that at the time of his death he was a Lance Corporal. John was killed on the 26th September 1916, aged 37. Following is a description of what the 5th Battalion of the Dorset Regiment were doing at this time:
On 11th July 1915 the 5th landed at Suvla Bay on the Gallipoli peninsular. In the next six months they lost relatively lightly in battle but heavily from the sickness that was the scourge of soldiers in this abortive campaign. In September sixty men were admitted to hospital with sickness. In three weeks from mid-October the figure was 150. Evacuated in January 1916, the Battalion redeployed to Egypt, where they remained for six months digging defences against an expected Turkish offensive which never came.
In July 1916 the 5th were sent to France, joining VI Corps in the Third Army. Although the Somme offensive had begun on 1st July, the Battalion first went into the line in the quieter sector south of Arras. In September, the Battalion moved south, to just below Thiepval at Mouquet Farm. Theirs was a bloody introduction to the Somme. The farm was partly held by the Germans, huge numbers of whom occupied a vast dugout below it. In this and in the attack that followed, two thirds of the 5th were killed or wounded. In the freezing winter of 1916/17 they lost heavily again in an attack near Beaucourt.