LEWIS, Arthur Harold

NAME: Arthur Harold LEWIS                                                                                                            098




DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 1 October 1914



UNIT: 14th Battalion

EMBARKED:  22 December 1914


FATE:  Died at sea – 13 August 1915 – Buried at Sea en route to Alexandria from Gallipoli Peninsula

Arthur Lewis, born in 1890, lived with his foster parents William Sugden Price Lewis and Marlise Mary Robertson at “Pine Lodge” in Mill Road.  He attended Hamilton State School and Elementary School, then worked with Messrs Stephens Bros., coachbuilders of Hamilton.  Arthur was also a good footballer.  He later moved to St Arnaud to work and then to Heywood where he worked at the ballast works.

The Hamilton Spectator published on 23 September 1914 that Arthur had left Hamilton for Broadmeadows. He enlisted on 1 October 1914 at Broadmeadows with the 14th Battalion and left Australia from Melbourne on 22 December 1914, with the 4th Brigade of which the 14th Battalion was a part, arriving in Egypt on 31 January 1915.

Arthur was a good letter writer and his letters home were given to the Hamilton Spectator for publication, giving an insight into his time overseas.  In an article on 29 May 1915, the Spectator reported on two letters home, one of those from Arthur.  Like previous letters from the Hamilton boys to home, both writers commented on their time in Egypt and the sights, however, Arthur wrote of “the land of Egypt from the point of view of its religious associations”.  On 2 June 1915, the Spectator published a letter from Arthur while still in Egypt before the Gallipoli campaign. He signed off with, “I will say goodbye for just now, and wishing you all the best of luck in case of accidents; give my best love and wishes to everybody.”

On 25 April 1915, the 4th Brigade, including the 14th Battalion, landed on the beaches at Gallipoli.  On 9 June, Arthur penned a letter home, later published in the Hamilton Spectator of 27 July 1915.  He wrote he had kept well until a few days earlier when the effects of rheumatism after six weeks in the trenches became too difficult to bear.  He was writing the letter from a hospital ship Canada, heading to hospital in Alexandria, Egypt.  Arthur had convinced his commanding officer that he was fine to stay in the trenches, however, his condition became unmanageable. He mentioned the landing at Gallipoli, stating “I am certain there is not a single person in Australia who can near realise what their boys went through”.

Arthur returned to Gallipoli on 2 August, joining two mates from Hamilton, Albert Sheehan, and Claude “Dot” Douglas, with whom Arthur shared a tent.  When they arrived at Gallipoli, there were thirteen men sharing the tent. By the time of his return, there were just Arthur, Albert and “Dot” left.  Albert Sheehan was killed on 8 August during the attack of Hill 971.  Just four days later, on 12 August, Arthur Lewis was shot in the abdomen.  He was transferred to the hospital ship Guildford Castle, however, he died the following day and was buried at sea. By 21 August, the tent was empty, after the death of “Dot” Douglas.

“AUSTRALIANS WHO HAVE FALLEN.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 22 Oct 1915: 5. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1573564&gt;.

On 25 September 1915, the Hamilton Spectator reported that the Lewis family had received the first news that not only was Arthur wounded over a month before, but he had died from the wounds. The news came as a great shock to the Lewis family. William Lewis, in his grief, published a personal notice in the Spectator.

“Family Notices.” Hamilton Spectator (Vic. : 1870 – 1873; 1914 – 1918) 25 Sep 1915: 4. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120401341&gt;.

On 5 October, William Sugden Price Lewis passed away within two weeks of hearing of Arthur’s fate.

Arthur Lewis was honoured on the Hamilton State School Roll of Honour, the Elementary School Roll of Honour, the Hamilton War Memorial, and with a tree along Anzac Avenue.


Australian War Memorial – 14th Battalion

Australian War Memorial – Roll of Honour – Arthur Harold Lewis 

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Arthur Harold Lewis  

Discovering Anzacs – WW1 Service Record – Arthur Harold Lewis

Newspaper Articles from Trove – Arthur Harold Lewis

The AIF Project – Arthur Harold Lewis

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