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William Robert Chambers

Corporal, Royal Marines
PLY/X 2212

HMS Prince of Wales



Billy Chambers in 1932 (Click for a larger view in a new window) (11132 bytes)

Billy in 1932 aged 13 years old

The Chambers Family in 1932  (Click for a larger view in a new window) (43391 bytes)

Billy in uniform   (Click for a larger view in a new window) (39592 bytes)

Billy in uniform  (Click for a larger view in a new window) (42732 bytes)



The Chambers Family in 1932

Back row: Joe, Billy, Jimmy.
Front row Peter, John (my dad), Amy.



Billy in his Royal Marine uniform



Billy in his Royal Marine uniform




The letter from the Admiralty which accompanied Billy's medals (click here for a larger view in a new window) (25418 bytes)


The letter from the Admiralty which accompanied Billy's medals



Billy's medals, left to right: 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Pacific Star and the War Medal 1939-45 with Oak Leaf clasp for the Mention in Despatches (click here for a larger view in a new window) (51084 bytes)


Billy's medals, left to right: 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Pacific Star and the War Medal 1939-45 with Oak Leaf clasp for the Mention in Despatches




Citation for Mention in Despatches
HMS Prince of Wales 10th December 1941.

Corporal W R Chambers, R. M. HMS Prince of Wales
Posthumous

The successful supply of ammunition to the 2 Pdr guns was largely due to the efforts of this N.C.O. and his ability, coolness and example were outstanding. When conditions between decks became very difficult he continued to carry on, closing down magazines and shell rooms in the final effort to keep the ship afloat. His work in assisting to limit the spread of water when S3 and 4 magazines were flooded were most useful. he was lost with the ship.



Corporal Marine William Robert Chambers, known to his family as Billy, was my father's eldest brother and one of five brothers. Sadly he did not survive the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales
He was the uncle I never got to know.
My dad has told me that Billy worked on one of the main gun turrets on the POW. Dad mentioned that Billy was on the POW when the Atlantic Charter was signed. Also he had previously served on the Repulse.

In the family photograph, Billy is in the middle on the back row. Billy's brothers and sister are Joe,  Peter and my dad all served in the Royal Marines.
Jimmy who served in the Royal Air Force. Their sister Amy served in the land army. Amy sadly died in 2003.
My uncle Joe (who is 84),  joined the Royal Marines before the Second World War began. Joe remembers an enjoyable evening playing cribbage with Billy when he was on leave, with them that night was a close Canadian friend of Billy's. Joe did not know that night would be the last time he would ever see his brother. 
Joe served for 12 years. He survived the sinking of the HMS York off Northern Crete. He later served on HMS Warspite and HMS Resolution.

Billy's service record is as follows:

Uncle Billy served on three ships during his 4-5 years in the Royal Marines. He served on the Cornwall, Repulse and the Prince of Wales; all three of which were eventually sunk by the Japanese. A summary of his service record follows:

Place: London
Date of enlistment: 16th March 1937 (age: 17)

16th Mar 1937 - 2nd Nov 1937 : Depot R.M Deal, Kent.
3rd Nov 1937 - 6th May 1938 : Plymouth, Devon.
7th May 1938 - 16th Jan 1939 : Cornwall CO : G.G. Alexander
17th Jan 1939 - 11th Aug 1940 : Repulse CO : E. J. Spooner
9th Oct 1940 - Promoted to Corporal (Ty)
19th Jan 1941 - 10th Dec 1941 : P. of Wales

Sincerely,
Eric J. Chambers.

 

Contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by

Eric J. Chambers (Nephew).

Commonwealth War Graves Commission record:

WILLIAM ROBERT CHAMBERS 
Corporal, PLY/X 2212
Royal Marines 
Additional Information: Age 22.
Son of James and Hilda Chambers, of Leiston, Suffolk.
Mentioned in Despatches.
Memorial: Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 59, Column 1.