Private George Henry Chamberlain

This is part of a series of essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Connecticut.

The grave of George Chamberlain
The grave of George Chamberlain

George Henry Chamberlain was born on 1 August 1894 at Orono, Maine, the son of John and Mary Chamberlain and the middle of their seven children.[1] His family were French Canadians from New Brunswick, who had emigrated to the United States in 1888. His father was a machinist in the local mill of the Orono Pulp and Paper Co. Some of his brothers worked there too but George Chamberlain learned to drive and became a chauffeur.

He married Annie Annis and the couple had a daughter, Harriet, born in Salem on 20 May 1915.[2] The couple later separated.

Chamberlain enlisted at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on 11 May 1917 for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Corps. He was posted to the newly raised Nova Scotia Forestry Depot of the Canadian Forestry Corps and allocated the number 2329860. On 25 June he sailed for France on the SS Justica. He arrived in England on 4 July and later that month his unit was reorganized as No. 59 Company, Canadian Forestry Corps. Private Chamberlain, however, was posted to No. 73 Company, which he joined in France on 8 September. The Company was part of No. 12 District, Bordeaux Group and worked in the Landes forest of Aquitaine in south-west France, the largest maritime pine forest in Europe. Other than a brief period in Marseilles Stationary Hospital in early 1918 suffering from gastritis, Chamberlain served here throughout the war until he was posted back to the United Kingdom in mid-February 1919. On 13 March 1919 he arrived at Kinmel Park in Wales to begin his journey home. He sailed to Canada on HMTS Empress of Britain at the end of the month and he was discharged in Toronto on 1 April. His final medical examination showed him in good health.

He returned home to the United States and he and his wife, apparently reconciled, lived with his parents, who now resided in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Chamberlain fell ill with tuberculosis and died at Bridgeport on 3 July 1921. He was buried on 5 July in Saint Michael’s Cemetery, Stratford in Section 2, Lot 304, Grave 4, in the north-east corner of the cemetery.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Private George Henry Chamberlain
The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Private George Henry Chamberlain

Private George Chamberlain is commemorated on page 555 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 25, 26, and 27 November. For his service in France he was awarded the British War Medal 1914-20 and the Victory Medal. His medals and the commemorative plaque and scroll were sent to his wife, who had moved to Waltham, Massachusetts. The Canadian Memorial Cross was sent to his wife and his mother.

His brother Basil served in France during the First World War with Battery ‘A’, 56th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps, and was wounded in action.

1. (Back) John Chamberlain (December 1862-29 August 1952) married Marion (also shown as Marian or Mary Ann) Arceneau (December 1861-NK) in 1882: Basil John (16 January 1887-21 March 1960); Martha Mary (later Chaisson) (July 1888-7 January 1961); Edward John (27 April 1890-1 September 1934); William J. (27 December 1895-1 September 1911); Franklin (also shown as Francis X.) (28 September 1898-20 September 1964); and Hazel E. (1902-NK). Seven other children were stillborn or died in infancy.
2. (Back) Anna May Annis was born in Dedham, Massachusetts on 5 October 1891: Harriett M. (later Mrs Wilbert J. Marsh) (20 May 1915-NK).Connecticut

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