Denis George Chalkley

Rank Private
Service No 5063
Date of Death 02/02/1917
Age 24
Regiment/Service Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force 2nd Battalion
Cemetery Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France. Dernancourt is a village 3 kms south of Albert. The cemetery contains 127 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. The 45th and 1st/1st South Midland Casualty Clearing Stations came in September 1916 and remained until March 1917.


Denis was born in Finchley in 1893. His parents were George Henry (b.1862) and Kate Chalkley (b.1863). He was baptised on 27th August 1893 by the Vicar of St Paul’s. His parents were living at 1 Beaconsfield Cottages, Long Lane, Finchley, in a row immediately before reaching the Squires Lane traffic lights. His father was a postman. Denis had three siblings: Edith (b.1886), Ernest (b.1887), who was baptised in St Paul’s on 24th April 1877, and Kathleen (b.1890), who was baptised in St Paul’s on 8th June 1890.

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family was living at Knowsley Cottage 1, Long Lane, Finchley. At the time of the 1911 census, the family was living at 15 Heatherton Terrace, Squires Lane, Finchley. Denis’ father’s occupation is listed as Postman, Assistant Head. 

When he was aged 20, Denis emigrated to Australia. He enlisted on 18th January 1916, giving his address as 394 Botany Road, Botany, Sydney, New South Wales, his occupation as seaman and his mother, who was living at 8 Squires Lane, Finchley as his next of kin. On 9 April 1916, he embarked from Sydney on the HMAT A71 Nestor. On 9th April 1916 Private Evans departed Sydney on the HMAT Nestor A71 bound for Egypt. He disembarked from the Troopship Makarini on 1st May 1916 at Suez.

On 24th May 1916, Denis was at Tel-el-Kebir, 110 kms north-north-east of Cairo. This was a training centre for the First Australian Imperial Force reinforcements, No 2 Australian Stationary Hospital, and the site of a large prisoner of war camp. Some 40,000 Australians were camped here in a small tent city some six miles in length. 

On 16th June 1916 Denis was admitted to No 2 Australian Stationary Hospital with diarrhoea. Five days later, he was discharged, being fit for duty. On 5th September 1916 he proceeded to France arriving three days later at the 1st Australian Base Depot at Etaples, a port in northern France, and on 22nd September he joined the 2nd Battalion in the field in Belgium. On 2nd February 1917 Denis was wounded in action, with injuries to his buttocks, thigh and left foot. He was taken to the 45th Casualty Clearing Station where he died.

At the time of his death, his widowed mother was living at "Haslemere," Long Lane, Finchley.