Raymond Thornton Chandler (1888–1959) was born in Chicago, Illinois, and moved to London, England, with his family when he was a young boy. He became a British citizen in 1907 and worked briefly as a civil servant and newspaper reporter before returning to the United States. He was living in Los Angeles, California, when the First World War broke out. In 1917, the year the United States entered the war, Chandler enlisted with the 50th Regiment Reinforcements of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, in the 1st Canadian Reserve Battalion. Toward the end of that year, he sailed to England on the SS Megantic and then joined the 7th Battalion, Canadian Base Depot. At the time of the Armistice, he was a Cadet training to be a fighter pilot with the Royal Air Force at the 6th School of Aeronautics in England. He was discharged from service at Vancouver, British Columbia, on February 20, 1919. In the 1930s, Chandler turned his attention to writing detective fiction. His first novel, The Big Sleep, published in 1939, established him as one of the most popular writers of the era. Several of his works were subsequently adapted to the silver screen. Chandler died in La Jolla, California on March 26, 1959.
Service Record Details
Date of Birth: July 23, 1888 (Chicago, Illinois)
Date of Attestation: August 14, 1917 (Victoria, British Columbia)
Age at Enlistment: 29 years old
Height: 5 feet, 9 inches
Weight: 140 pounds
Description: Fresh complexion, hazel eyes, dark brown hair. Vision 20/20. Church of England.
Home Address: 127 South Vendome Street, Los Angeles, California
Next of Kin: Mother, Mrs. Florence D. Chandler, living at 127 South Vendome Street, Los Angeles, California.
Theatre of War: England
Casualties / Medical History
- July and October, 1918 – Chandler is hospitalized on two occasions for influenza. Each time he is treated for almost a week and makes a “good recovery.”
Interesting Details from the Service Record
- August 14, 1917 – In responding to the question of whether his father is alive, Chandler states
“I don’t know.” He also indicates he is the sole supporter of his mother, and that he has been accustomed to providing her a stipend of $60 per month, prior to his enlistment.
- June 6, 1918 – He is transferred to England for the “purpose of a commission in the R.A.F.”
- July 22, 1918 – An “Entry Card” for the Royal Air Force provides the following information:
- He is a cadet.
- He is a smoker: “10 Cigs. 3 Pipes. Inhales.” His alcohol consumption is moderate.
- His age is 22 and his occupation is Surveyor.
- He has served 3 years, 11 months in the army; 2 years, 1 month in the foreign service.
- He is “Seasick every time Sea is rough.”
A second, handwritten copy of his entry card for the Royal Air Force indicates his correct age and regimental number. The details are similar, but worded differently.
- August 16, 1918 – He is posted to the No. 2 R.A.F. Cadet Wing at St. Leonards-on-Sea.
- October 20, 1918 – A “Royal Air Force. Discharge Card, U.K.” indicates he is discharged from duty after spending seven days in hospital for influenza.
- February 20, 1919 – At age 30, he is discharged from the service “by reason of demobilization.”
The London Gazette
No mentions found.
Military Medals, Honours and Awards (1815–1969)
No records located.