William St Lucien Chase VC

b. 02/07/1856 St Lucia. d. 24/06/1908 Quetta, Pakistan.

William St Lucien Chase (1856-1908) was born on the island of St Lucia, West Indies, on 2nd July 1856, eldest son of Captain R H Chase, Commissary of Ordnance, and Susan Hill. He was educated privately, and entered the Army in 1875, being gazetted to Her Majesty’s 15th Regiment of Foot. He was posted to India where he served in the Regimental HQ for two years, passing his examinations with distinction, and was admitted into the Bombay Staff Corps.

William St L Chase VC

He then served successively at Poona, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Surat. In the Afghan War he served with the 28th Bombay Native Infantry and accompanied the HQ of the Regiment – a constituent of the Kandahar Field Force – in January 1878, to Chaman, from where, after the massacre of Major Waudby and his men in May 1880, he was subsequently detached to the command of the post of Gatai.

He was present with the 28th Native Infantry throughout the defence of Kandahar, and took part with four companies in the ill-fated sortie to Deh Khwaja, when the casualties of the regiment included Lieutenant-Colonel Newport and thirty other men killed, and Lieutenant-Colonel Nimmo and 20 men wounded. During this action, Lieutenant Chase would be recommended for the Victoria Cross for his gallantry.

On 16th August 1880, he ran out under heavy fire to the aid of Private Massey, of the Royal Fusiliers, who had taken refuge in a blockhouse and was wounded. Chase reached the blockhouse, picked up Massey and carried him over 200 yards, under fire, to a place of safety.

Chase was gazetted for the VC on 7th October 1881, and was presented with his medal on 23rd January 1882 by the GOC Bombay at Poona. After the regiment left Kandahar, he was given command of the Killa Abdulla Post, and continued there until he was relieved in November 1880. In January 1881, he returned to Gatai, and remained there until the Kandahar Evacuating Force arrived on route to India.

In 1884, he served in the Zhob Campaign, in the Chin Lushai Expedition, and the advance on Fort Haka. In 1893, he took part in the Naga Hills Campaign and Manipur; in 1897 in the Mohmand Expedition; in 1897 and 1898 in the Tirah Campaign, and was present at the actions at the Sampagha Pass; occupation of Maiden and Bagh Valley, and operations in Dwatoi Defile, Rajghul Valley and Bara Valley. He was mentioned in despatches numerous times. He later commanded the 28th Bombay Pioneers, and was made Brevet Colonel and a CB. He died on 24th June 1908, aged 51, in Quetta, and was buried in the English Cemetery. His medals are held by the Army Museum of Western Australia, Fremantle, Australia.