Private Freddie Chambers, whose brother George also died in the First World War, was the "the self-appointed Company humorist" of B Company, 5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. He was one of 11 soldiers killed by a German shell as their platoon moved up to the line to take part in a raid on German positions near Lens in August 1917. Four of them came from Rutland. Freddie and George were the sons of John and Lucy Chambers of Caldecott, and Freddie was born on 24 February 1886. He worked in the ironstone mines before joining the 1/5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment on 17 November 1914. He went out to the Western Front on 16 April 1915, and spent three months fighting in the second Battle of Ypres. He also took part in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in October of the same year during the Battle of Loos. He survived to take part in the attempt to capture Gommecourt Wood on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The attack was a failure. After recuperation, the Leicestershires were sent to take part in the fighting around Lens. An account of what happened is recorded in The Fifth Leicestershire by Captan JD Hills: "On the 14th August, after a very happy fortnight at Fouquieres, we moved to the huts at Noyelles, where the special stores [Mills bombs] for the coming raid were issued. At the same time all the pay books, badges, identity discs and personal kits were handed in, and to each man was issued a small round cardboard disc with a number on it. The following morning we paraded at 10am, and marched through Vermelles to Lone Trench and Tenth Avenue, where we were to wait until it was time to assemble. On the way "B" Company had a serious disaster. A shell, intended for one of our batteries West of Vermelles, fell on the Company as they were passing the Mansion House Dump. They were marching in fours and had practically a whole platoon wiped out, for eleven were killed and fourteeen wounded. Amongst the killed was Freddie Chambers, self-appointed Company humorist, and one of the best known and cheerful soldiers in the Battalion." The dead were all buried in a row in Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe. Freddie is in grave I.U.40, and lies next to Clarence Ellicott from Oakham and near to Richard Corner of Exton and Thomas Woodcock of Oakham. Freddie's brother George, who died from pneumonia shortly after the war ended, is buried in the churchyard in Caldecott and both brothers are remembered on the war memorial in the village church.
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