Oswald CHORLTON
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 250
Unit: B Company, 28th Battalion Australian Imperial Force
Date of Death: 17 October 1918
Age: 27
Cemetery: Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

In the early part of 1886, Samuel Chorlton (a bleacher) married Amelia Abert at St Paul's Chruch, Portwood, Stockport. Oswald was born a couple of years later. In his early 20s, he emigrated to Australia where he earned a living as a "motorist".

He enlisted into the army on 6 March 1915 at Northam, Western Australia. His address at the time was c/o a Mrs Seddon in nearby Gosnells. His service file is available on-line at the Australian National Archives and it shows that he was a short man, even for the time, being just less than 5' 4". He weighed 139 pounds and had a 36.5" chest. Oswald had a fair complexion, grey eyes and fair hair. His only distinguishing mark was a small burn on his back. He had described his religion as Church of England.

The 28th Battalion left Freemantle on 29 June1915 aboard HMAT Asanius and disembarked in Egypt. He went into action at Gallipoli in early September, missing the major battles. The Battalion garrisoned the front lines until the evacuation in late December/early January. Oswald was promoted to a temporary position of corporal on 24 November (and this would be made permanent on 18 February 1916). After the evacuation, Oswald returned to Egypt until, on 16 March 1916, the Battalion embarked for France, arriving at Marseilles on the 23rd.

The next month, Oswald was transferred to the 7th Brigade Trench Mortar Battery and, shortly after, had a period of leave. He returned to the Stockport area and, on 6 May, he married Elizabeth Gwendoline Evans, of 17 St James Street, Eccles. She worked as a domestic servant. They married at St Andrews Church of England Church in Eccles.

After his marriage, Oswald changed his military records to show Elizabeth as his next of kin and he made a will in her favour. In the October, he was assigned to the Army School of Instruction as an instructor and, in January 1917, he was temporarily promoted to sergeant. At the end of April, he reverted to his old rank when he rejoined the Trench Mortar Battery. Within a few weeks, he was again promoted and assigned, as an instructor, to the 1st ANZAC Trench Mortar School.

In July 1917, he had two weeks leave in England and, on 13 October, he was transferred to the Trench Mortar School at General Headquarters. He was able to return to the UK, on leave, over the Christmas period for another fortnight.

On 17 October 1918, there was a tragic accident as described by the report of the official army Inquiry. "Whilst instruction was being given at Light Trench Mortar School on 17 October 1918, a premature burst occurred with a German "pineapple" grenade causing injuries. All necessary precautions had been taken against accident and no-one was to blame. Nature of injury - killed. Front and right side of neck blown away by piece of high explosive shell. Penetrating wound of right arm, fracturing humerus. Died of haemorrhage."

After the war, Elizabeth was living at 4 Jowells Place, Heaton Mersey, but it is not known if this is the home she shared, briefly, with Oswald.

   
           
   
     
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