Topic: Ernest William Chater (1879-1937)

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Ernest William Chater enlisted in World War I from Tauranga on 15 August 1914. He was shot in the leg during the Battle of Chunuk Bair on 9 August 1915.

Ernest William ChaterErnest William Chater was born in Middlesex, England on 2 July 1879. His parents were William and Fanny Chater.

He served in the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own), leaving of his own accord.

Ernest left with the Main Body for Egypt in 1914. He was a member of 4th Troop, 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles under the command of Lieutenant Morris Milliken. Ernest was promoted to sergeant.

A letter from Ernest to his brother Noel in Tauranga in July of 1915 was published in the Bay of Plenty Times.

“Have been here since May 12th and have seen much that is real hot stuff and yours truly has had some very close calls. I am very fit and we live in dugouts when not in the firing line. I have seen a great deal of death and wounds. It is really dreadful, but one gets rather callous, knowing full well that it may be your turn next. If you saw this place you would wonder how human beings could have got a foothold here, but New Zealand and Australian troops are really magnificent and seem to fear nothing. Of course I could tell you no end of amusing, tragic and pathetic episodes but there is a censor so must wait a bit. We, or what is left of us, are all very merry and bright.”

Shortly after writing this letter Ernest was shot in the leg during the Battle of Chunuk Bair on 9 August 1915.

He was evacuated to Alexandria Hospital and did not return to Gallipoli.

Having recovered he went on to England and was discharged to take up a temporary commission with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, from 9 November 1917 until he was demobilised a year later on 9 November 1918.

Ernest died in New Zealand on 30 April 1937 (reg. 1937/20872). On 1 May 1937 he was buried in Waikumete Cemetery in Auckland.



Bay of Plenty Times (July 1915).

Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Cenotaph Record  (Auckland War Memorial Museum).


Fiona Kean (Tauranga Heritage Collection).

Military personnel file (Archives New Zealand).

New Zealand Mounted Rifles.

The Navy List Corrected to 18th September, 1918.

The Navy List Corrected to the 18th January, 1920.

Waikumete Cemetery Records Online.

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Ernest William Chater (1879-1937)

Note:Service Number: 13/305
First Names:Ernest William
Last Name:Chater
Date of Birth:2 July 1879
Place of Birth:Middlesex
Country of birth:England
Date of death:30 April 1937
Place of death:New Zealand
Place of burial:Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland
Occupation:Fruit Farmer
Fathers name:William Chater
Mothers name:Fanny Kentish