Edward Lloyd Cheney
UNIT SERVED: 10th / 50th Battalion
Edward was the son of Henry and Margaret Cheney, of Prince’s Road, Mitcham South Australia. He was a native of Warrington in England and his brother Henry Arundel Cheney was also killed in the war. At the time of enlistment Edward was just over 22 years of age. He was 5 feet and 8 inches tall and identified with the Church of England at the time of enlistment.
Edward enlisted with his brother Henry on the 28th of August 1914 just two weeks after the declaration of war. Both brothers departed from Adelaide on the HMT Ionian and proceeded to Egypt to join the MEF prior to the Gallipoli Campaign. As members of the 10th Battalion the brothers were part of one of the first battalions to land on the Gallipoli peninsula and begin the famous Anzac campaign. On the 8th of May Edward was promoted to sergeant. His casualty record states that on the 4th November 1915 he was reprimanded for ‘neglect of duty’ which is interesting when looking at the rest of his highly decorated military career.
On the 19th- 20th of December 1915, the failed Gallipoli campaign drew to its close with the ANZAC and other Commonwealth forces evacuating over two nights under the direct gaze of the Turkish army. It was said that the evacuation was in fact the most successful part of the Dardanelles campaign with no serious casualties being recorded. On the 29th of December, Edward disembarked from the ‘Seang Bee’ at the port of Alexandria to await the next stage of his service.
With the closure of 1915 and the beginning of a new year of the war, the 50th Battalion was formed out of the 10th, and became one of South Australia’s most well -known units. From March to June 1916, Edward’s unit was stationed in Egypt ready for transfer to the horrors of the Western Front. On the ‘Arcadian’ on 12th of June, Edward disembarked in the south of France at the port of Marseilles to join the many units of the AIF which would ultimately join the BEF in France and Belgium. During the battles of the Somme, on the 26th of August, Edward Cheney was promoted in the field to 2nd Lieutenant. Shortly after on the 25th of October 1916, Edward was awarded the Military Cross for…‘For conspicuous gallantry in Action. With thirty men and two machine guns he repulsed an enemy attack, displaying great courage and initiative. He set a splendid example to his men throughout.’
On the 13th of December 1916, he received another promotion to Lieutenant only to be hospitalised 4 days later first in the field but later to the sea port of Etaples for over 3 months. For most of 1917, Edward Cheney was seconded for duty with the 13th Australian Infantry Training Division based in England. It wasn’t until 6th of October 1917, that he returned to the front leaving from Southampton. Four months later in February 1918, he was granted leave to the UK for a few weeks. His return to his unit on the 10th of March 1918 saw Edward Cheney live the last few days of his life being wounded in action on the 12th and dying from his wounds on the same day.
Lieutenant Edward Cheney MC was age 25 and is buried at the Godewaersvelde British Cemetery, northern France. He was the great uncle of Stephen Downs, Mount Barker South Australia.