|Private David Chestnut|
born 1890, Ryde
Monday, 23 April 2012
In August 1915, Ryde local paper, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers’ Advocate printed : 'Private David Chestnut of Ryde is now officially reported to be “missing”. '
David was already a local hero prior to his enlistment. Described as an all-round athlete, he had captained the Ryde Football Club in the previous year and he had also rescued a boy from drowning in the Parramatta River, for which he had been honoured with a life-saving certificate. David Chestnut’s story is but one of the many we are searching to uncover in the Ryde goes to War Project.
When David enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces on 7 September 1914, he was 24 years old. The son of William & Lizzie Chestnut, fruitgrowers from Regent Street, Ryde, he was working as a carpenter. He left Australia in board the Transport A38 Ulysses on 22 December 1914, as part of the 13th Battalion. From Alexandra he departed for the Gallipoli peninsula.
After surviving the Gallipoli landing, it was during one of the following nights that David went missing. He was reported as leaving his dugout on Pope’s Hill to fill water bottles and never returned. He was formally listed as missing in action on 2 May 1915, but it was not until after a Court of Inquiry held at Serapeum, Egypt in April 1916 that David was officially listed as Killed in Action on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
David’s personal effects which included a Housewife (mending kit), 3 brushes, prayer book and postage stamps were subsequently returned to his mother, Lizzie in Ryde.
David’s contribution was remembered on 4 different war memorials within the Municipality of Ryde:
· The Ryde Public School Honour Board
· Ryde Wesley Uniting Church Honour Roll (at the time of WWI- it was the local Wesleyan Methodist Church),
· Ryde Town Hall Honour Rolls,
· Ryde Civic Centre Memorial Book.