'In a couple of days we are taking part in a great offensive. We are the first to go over the parapet...Of course, I'm a bit shaky, but not very scared. We are trained for a bayonet charge, so we expect it more or less.'
– Eric Chinner
About this video
Watch our series of short films accompanying our Writing the war: personal stories from WWI exhibition, highlighting the individual experiences of Australians who participated in the war. The films also feature in our permanent exhibition, The changing face of Victoria, as part of the State Library's World War I centenary commemoration. The Writing the war touring exhibition will travel to Victorian public libraries from August 2015 to June 2017.
This film is based on the WWI letters of bank clerk Eric Chinner, who served as a first lieutenant in the 32nd Battalion in Egypt and France. Hailing from Peterborough, South Australia, Eric was 20 when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1915.
Eric first saw action at the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916. During this battle, he was mortally wounded while leading a party of grenadiers. That night, 5533 soldiers were lost. In 2010, Eric was one of 96 soldiers whose remains were identified and reburied at a new cemetery in Fromelles.
This video features extracts from the letters Eric wrote home to loved ones from the battlefield, just days before his death in the Battle of Fromelles.