Corporal Thomas Clyde Chambers, MM


Thomas Clyde Chambers was born on 7 February 1884 at Ardground, County Londonderry, the youngest of three children of farmer Matthew Chambers and Elizabeth (nee Clyde).

He may have been the Thomas C. Chambers (No.30494) who served in the Boer War in the 60th (North Irish Horse (Belfast)) Company, 29th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry.

Chambers enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 25 July and 8 August 1914 (No.958), and embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August that year, seeing action in the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

On 29 January 1916 while serving at Reninghelst, Belgium, Chambers faced a Field General Court Martial, charged with 'breaking out of barracks or camp'. He was sentenced to 3 months' Field Punishment No.1.

In June 1916 C Squadron joined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until August 1917. The following month the regiment was dismounted and absorbed into the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Chambers, like most of the men, was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number (41256) and posted to C Company.

At night on 3/4 November C Company engaged in a successful raid on the German lines near Havrincourt. Chambers was awarded a Military Medal for the part he played in the raid. The battalion war diary reads:

[3 November] At 4.30 p.m. "C" Coy left Ruyaulcourt and marched up to the line to carry out a raid. The enemy's front line was successfully penetrated, from the Canal (K.26.d.05.95.) to about 150x [yards] E of it. The fighting was very severe as the enemy refused to surrender. Our men stayed in the enemy trenches for twenty min. and bayonetted and shot at least forty Germans. We suffered some casualties, mostly from bombs:- 1 officer severely wounded; 1 officer slightly wounded; 1 N.C.O. killed; 3 O.R. missing, believed killed; 13 O.R. wounded 1 R.E. (N.C.O.) severely wounded.

[19 November] The following "immediate awards" have been notified by Bde as result of our Havrincourt raid on 3rd inst. Military Medal. 18869 Corpl Mackinson, Henry, 41327 Pte Morrison, John, 41256 Pte Chambers, Thomas, 41534 Pte Averell, Robert, 23438 Corpl Craig, George.

Chambers was wounded in the left leg in the retreat from St Quentin during the German spring offensive, from 21 to 28 March 1918. He was discharged on 13 March 1919.