The AIF Project

Christopher Henry Duncan CHAMPION

Regimental number637
Date of birth--/09/1882
Place of birthLaunceston, Tasmania
SchoolThe King's School, Parramatta, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarmer
AddressBungendore, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 9.5"
Weight130 lbs
Next of kinFather, Arthur Hammerton Champion, Bungendore, New South Wales
Previous military serviceThe King's School Cadets, New South Wales
Enlistment date1 July 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name30th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/47/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A72 Beltana on 9 November 1915
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll3rd Battalion
Promotions

2nd Lieutenant


Unit: 3rd Battalion
Promotion date: 12 March 1916

Lieutenant


Unit: 3rd Battalion
Promotion date: 29 June 1916

Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Mention in Despatches


Courage and devotion to duty and able leadership of Company. (East of Ypres 20 September 1917).
Recommendation date: 29 September 1917

Mention in Despatches


Awarded, and gazetted, 'London Gazette', second Supplement, No. 30448 (28 December 1917); 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 57 (18 April 1918).

FateKilled in Action 14 April 1918
Age at death25
Place of burialOuttersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, France
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
35
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated on St James' Roll of Honour, Sydney, New South Wales: '"He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:39. In memory of those associated with St James' Church who gave their lives in the Great War.' Parents: Arthur and Mary CHAMPION, The Rectory, Bungendore, New South Wales. Father was the first chaplain at Royal Military College, Duntroon.
Family/military connectionsBrothers: [583] 2nd Lt Geoffrey Servante CHAMPION, 4th Bn, killed in action, Pozieres, France, 25 July 1916; Lt Arthur CHAMPION, 1st Bn, returned to Australia, 9 September 1916.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Disembarked Suez, 11 December 1915.

Appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 12 March 1916, and transferred to 3rd Bn.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 22 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 28 March 1916.

Promoted Lieutenant, 29 June 1916.

Admitted to 44th Casualty Clearing Station, 15 August 1916 (broken ankle, sustained while going into action, Pozieres); transferred to 4th Australian Field Ambulance, 16 August 1916; to Ambulance Train No 24, 16 August 1916, and transferred same day to 24th General Hospital. Transferred to England, 24 August 1916, and admitted same day to 4th General Hospital, Denmark Hill, London. Discharged to Perham Downs, 25 November 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 12 December 1916, to rejoin Bn.

Detached to Divisional Wing Corps School, 21 July 1917; rejoined Bn, 25 August 1917.

To 1st Australian Divisional Reinforcements Camp, Belgium, 24 October 1917; rejoined Bn, 14 November 1917.

On leave to England, 29 November 1917; rejoined unit from leave, 17 December 1917.

Detached to Anzac Corps Gas School, 30 December 1917; rejoined Bn, 6 January 1918.

Detached to 2nd Army School, 9 February 1918; rejoined Bn, 17 March 1918.

Killed in action, 14 September 1918.

Report by Major G.E. McDONALD, CO, 3rd Bn: '[He] was killed at STRAZELLE by a buller through the head. He died immediately. Buried approx. 1,000 yards N.W. of Messines.' MSBV

Originally recorded as having no known grave. A Memorial Cross was erected in his memory at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery, where, according to a letter from Base Records to his father, 15 April 1925, 'his remains are believed to be buried'. The remains of four Australian soldiers were unearthed by a French farmer in March 2003. Two of the men have been identified with a reasonable degree of certainty as Christopher CHAMPION and 5665 Pte Ernest CORBY. [DNA testing was not possible in the case of Champion because no surviving relatives could be traced.] The four soldiers were buried on 22 April 2005 in a ceremony attended by Chief of Army, LT General Peter Leahy.

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