Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 2, 1889
Place of BirthAppin, Ekfrid Township, Middlesex County, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinReverend Frank H.Stacey (father), Chilliwack, British Columbia
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionMethodist
Service Details
Regimental Number17171
Service Record Link to Service Record
BattalionWelsh Regiment
ForceBritish Army
BranchBritish Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentValcartier, Quebec
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death1966
Age at Death76

Stacey, Herbert Chambers

Captain Herbert Chambers Stacey enlisted with the first Canadian contingent in September 1914. The following year he was commissioned into the British army and he served in France with the Welsh Regiment.

Herbert was born on 2 November 1889 in Appin, Ekfrid Township, Middlesex County, Ontario. His father, Reverend Frank Bainard Stacey, was born near St. Thomas, Ontario and grew up on a farm in that area. He entered the Methodist ministry at age 19 then attended university and was ordained in 1885. Herbert’s mother, Susanna Johnson Fish, was born in Newtonbrook, York County, Ontario. Rev. Stacey and Susanna were married in Newtonbrook in 1885. Over the next 25 years they served in the Methodist ministry in southwestern Ontario; Prince Albert and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (the North-West Territories at the time); Rat Portage (now Kenora), in northwestern Ontario; and Crystal City and Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

Their daughter Helen Emma was born in 1886 in London and she was followed by five sons: George Nelles (1888, Lambton County, Ontario), Herbert Chambers (1889, Middlesex County, Ontario), Charles Arthur (1891, Saskatchewan, died at age two), Frank Wendell (1894, Moose Jaw) and Leonard Brown (1900, Rat Portage). Around 1910 Rev. Stacey retired for health reasons and he and his wife settled in Chilliwack, British Columbia, where he purchased land and began growing fruit. He became a well-known horticulturalist and he was also very involved in marketing local produce. He was active in federal politics, serving in the House of Commons, and he and his wife were Charter members of the Chilliwack branch of the Red Cross when it was formed in 1928.

Herbert and his younger brothers Frank Wendell and Leonard Brown all served in the First World War. When the war started volunteers for the first Canadian contingent were told to enroll with their local militia then proceed to Valcartier, an area near Quebec City that would become the site of a large military camp. Herbert joined the 104th Regiment (Westminster Fusiliers of Canada) on 10 August 1914. He had his medical at Valcartier on 5 September and enlisted on 23 September, signing up with the 7th (1st British Columbia) Battalion. His unit embarked for England in early October, sailing from Quebec City in a convoy of 32 transport ships protected by a Royal Navy escort because of the danger from German submarines. The convoy arrived safely in Plymouth, England on 14 October.

The Canadians trained on Salisbury Plain in southern England for several months and in January 1915 Herbert spent three weeks in the hospital with tonsillitis. The 7th Battalion was sent to France in February as part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division. For the first few weeks they were based south of Ypres, in the area between Hazebrouck and Armentières. In April the Canadians were moved north to the Ypres Salient, to a section of the front line near Gravenstafel. The first large-scale use of poison gas by the Germans took place on 22 April at Gravenstafel Ridge and the Canadian lines were hit by it two days later. Herbert was wounded on 24 April, struck in the face by a piece of shell casing. He was taken to No. 3 Canadian Field Ambulance and evacuated to England on the hospital ship St Andrew. He recovered from 26 April to 22 May at the 3rd Western General Hospital in Cardiff, Wales. After a short sick furlough he was transferred to the 30th Reserve Battalion and he served in the UK for the next three months.

On 26 August 1915 Herbert was discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force and appointed to a commission in the British army. He became a Lieutenant in the 18th Service Battalion (2nd Glamorgan) Welsh Regiment. The 18th Service Battalion landed in France in June 1916 for service on the Western Front. According to an article in the Chilliwack Progress Herbert was wounded in September 1916 and again, more seriously, in December 1916. Following his recovery he was promoted to Captain and honourably discharged in June 1917. His brother Wendell had been killed at Gallipoli in June 1915. Their youngest brother Leonard was commissioned into the Indian Army. He served in Mesopotamia and returned to Canada in October 1919.

Afterward his discharge Herbert was employed as an accountant for the British branch of the Board of Pension Commissioners for Canada, which was based in London, England. He was married in London in late 1917. His wife, Britannia May Davies, was born in Cardiff, Wales on 24 September 1892. She was the oldest of three daughters of William Davies and Britannia Margaret James. Herbert and Britannia lived in the UK and they had two children: Eira Diana, born in London in 1918, and John Nichol, born in Wales in 1920. Herbert passed away in Cardinganshire, Wales in 1966, at age 76, and his wife Britannia died in Hackney, London in November 1972.

By Becky Johnson

Stacey-Herbert-Chambers-90 Stacey-Herbert-Chambers-91 Stacey-Herbert-Chambers-92 Stacey-Herbert-Chambers-93

Photo courtesy of Wells public family tree on ancestry.com.


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