Billy in 1932 aged 13
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:
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
Eric J. Chambers.
Contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.
Information provided by
Eric J. Chambers (Nephew).
Commonwealth War Graves Commission record:
WILLIAM ROBERT CHAMBERS
Corporal, PLY/X 2212
Additional Information: Age 22.
Son of James and Hilda Chambers, of Leiston, Suffolk.
Mentioned in Despatches.
Memorial: Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 59, Column 1.