(L to R) Military Medal; 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Eric was born on the 7th October 1893 in Chorlton, Manchester. His father was called Leopold Chambers Clampett and his mother was Elizabeth Mary. He had an older sister named Nina and 2 younger brothers: Charles Victor and Denis Chambers. Leopold was the manager of a rubber textile department at a garment maker's firm and in 1901 the family lived at 12 Cannon Avenue in Levenshulme, Manchester.
We don't know where Eric was living or what he was doing between then and late 1913. He had joined the 3rd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment by the 10th January 1914. This unit was made up of Special Reservists. A Special Reservist was a man who had not previously served in the Regular Army. They kept their civilian career, but trained to be a soldier for a short period every year. Unlike the Territorial Force, which was intended to serve as complete units within the UK or Empire, Special Reservists could be sent to join Army units anywhere as individuals or in small groups.
Eric was given the service number 2182 by the 3rd Battalion. His initial training lasted for 6 months and was carried out at the Manchester Regiment Depot in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. He passed his 3rd Class Army Certificate of Education on the 10th January 1914 and his 2nd Class Certificate on the 12th March.
Eric's training will have ended in around June or July. He must have decided he enjoyed Army life, because almost immediately he transferred to the Regular Army. He was given the service number 2815 and joined the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment at the Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland.
The First World War broke out that August, and the 2nd Battalion was sent to France. It arrived on the 16th and was soon in action. It lost around 350 men on the 26th August at Le Cateau, and more during the rest of 1914. We don't know why, but Eric did not join them until the 4th January 1915. He was sent out to help bring the 2nd Battalion back up to strength.
We don't know anything about what Eric did whilst he was in France. At some point before August 1917 he was transferred to the 9th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was given the service number 41154. He had also been promoted to Lance Corporal.
His brother Charles had joined the 23rd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment between November 1914 and March 1915. He was wounded during fighting around Arras, and died on the 3rd December 1916, aged around 21. He is buried in grave VIII. E. 7 of Habarcq Communal Cemetery Extension, along with 182 other soldiers.
Eric and the 9th Battalion served in the Passchendaele Offensive of July to November 1917. At some point during late August or early September Eric was awarded the Military Medal for an act of bravery. The citation for his medal has not survived, so we don't know what he did. His award was published in the London Gazette on the 19th November 1917.
The First World War ended on the 11th November 1918. Eric either stayed in the Northumberland Fusiliers, or left and rejoined soon afterwards. By 1921 he held the rank of Sergeant and the service number 4256478. On the 5th April he passed the 1st Class Army Certificate of Education.
We don't know how long Eric served with the Northumberland Fusiliers, or where his battalion was stationed.
Between April and June 1927 Eric married Hilda Buxton in Basford, Nottinghamshire. We don't believe they had any children.
The Home Guard that had served during the Second World War was reformed in 1950. Eric was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in this force on the 1st September 1953. We don't know whether he had been a member of the wartime Home Guard, or whether he had served in the post war Home Guard before he became an officer. We also don't know which unit he served in. The force was disbanded in 1954.
By the end of his life Eric lived in the Ilkeston area of Derbyshire. He died between July and September 1980. He was 86 years old. Hilda died in October 1985, aged 88. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in 1997.