Edward Francis LYNCH

LYNCH, Edward Francis

Service Number: 2207
Enlisted: 5 April 1916, Bathurst Depot Camp NSW 4th Reinforcement 45th Battalion
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 45th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bourke, New South Wales, 4 August 1897
Home Town: Perthville, Bathurst Regional, New South Wales
Schooling: Perthville Primary School
Occupation: Student
Died: Natural causes, New South Wales, 12 September 1980, aged 83 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

5 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, Bathurst Depot Camp NSW 4th Reinforcement 45th Battalion
22 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '19' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Wiltshire embarkation_ship_number: A18 public_note: ''
8 Mar 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, Messines
30 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
25 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, Dernancourt/Ancre
25 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, German Spring Offensive 1918
1 May 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"
4 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, Le Hamel - Blueprint for Victory
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2207, 45th Infantry Battalion, Amiens

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

"Somme Mud" and Edward Lynch

Edward Lynch was largely anonymous as a soldier and in life.  However his authorship of a manuscript that would not see the light of day until 25 years after his death has subsequently earned him an indelible place among a small group of comrades.  Australian eye witnesses to the Great War who went on to achieve publishing success are relatively few and far between.

Australia has been well served by the absolutely titanic Official Histories, written in the main by the Official Historian, C.E.W Bean.  But there was a dearth of first-hand accounts.

When 'Somme Mud' was published in 2006, it caused a sensation.  It was the first book in more than two generations that provided a unique perspective on the Australian experience of the Great War, from a soldier who was there in the thick of it as an infantryman.

For the record others are:

'To the Last Ridge' - Walter Downing 1921

'The Desert Column' Ian Idriess, 1932

'Backs to the Wall' George Mitchell, MC, DCM 1937

More recently 'There and Back With a Dinkum' Russell Coleman, MC 2013 (edited by Claire Woods and Paul Skrebels) is in a similar vein to 'Somme Mud', written in the second person relatively soon after the war but forgotten about in the bottom of a trunk . in the AWM archive.

Mention must be made of the books that re-awakened Australian interest in the role our ancestors played in WW1;  "The ANZACs" by Patsy Adam Smith 1978 and "The Broken Years" by Bill Gammage 1974.

 

Edward Lynch was still at school when WW1 broke out, and embarked as a very young soldier indeed, just 18 years old.  He joined the 45th Battalion in the 12th Brigade in the Fourth Division, which had been created in the aftermath of Gallipoli when the so-called "doubling of the AIF" took place.  The 45th Battalion was cloned from the 13th Battalion in the 4th Brigade, by transferring experienced officers NCO and soldiers and then reinforcing with new arrivals from Australia (of which Edward was one).

He arrived in the UK and underwent the necessary preparation to eready he and his colleagues for trench warfare on the Western Front, first in the UK and then in a 'finishing school' in France before making his ay to the front line near Guedecourt in the Somme Valley, in what was the worst winter in living memory.  It clearly seared an impression in his mind framing the title of his memoir psot war - "Somme Mud".

As a 'runner', the most reliable form of message transmission at the time (telephone wires could be cut by artillery fire and raiding parties, while radio was in its infancy and not available at Battalion level) he had one of the most dangerous jobs on the battlefield.

Although perhaps a 'late arrival', Edward was to go on to take part in just about every campaign of significance up until the end of the War on 11 November 1918.  Wounded several times, like many of his comrades they kept returning to the Front, so as not to 'let their mates down'. 

He makes some pignant observations

"No one ever seems to admit that he enlisted out of love of country, or because he thought his loved ones were in danger. Somehow it seems that most of us enlisted because our mates did. That men were driven to enlist by that urging spirit of pulling together that is really mateship undefined. A man enlists because his mates do, not because he wants to bayonet and bomb other men."

'Halt! Thy tread is on heroes' gravesAustralian lads lie sleeping below: 
Just rough wooden crosses at their heads 
To let their comrades know. 
They'd sleep no better for marble slabs, 
Nor monuments so grand 
They lie content, now their day is done 
In that far-off foreign land.'

— Tom Skeyhill, Quoted in Somme Mud

In 1921 Edward Lynch enrolled at the Sydney Teachers College. He graduated in 1923 and was sent to Goulburn, New South Wales to teach.

He married Yvonne Peters and they went on to have five children together.

In 1939 on the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Militia. In 1942 he transferred to the regular army and became Officer Commanding of a  Jungle Training School near Coffs Harbour.

After the war he returned to teaching until his retirement.  He died in September 1980.  Author Will Davies was given his manuscript by Edward's son Mike and after editing it, 'Somme Mud' was published in 2006.  The rest , as they say, is history.

 

 Compiled by Steve Larkins  October 2018

 

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Biography contributed by Port Lincoln High School

               In a town of Bourke, located in the north west of New South Wales, Private Edward Lynch was given birth by his parents on 7th August 1897. The school he attended was located in Bathurst, the same region in New South Wales. At a brave age of 18, on 5th April 1916, he enlisted in the Australian army and was placed in the 45th Battalion in the 12th Brigade heading for France as reinforcements to replace heavy casualties in Pozieres.

                He served as a Private during WW1 and when the Triple Entente had won the war, he returned to Australia and put down his memories and horrors of World War 1 in a book called Somme Mud (and later edited by Will Davies). He enrolled and was graduated in 1923 and around 1922-1923 married his lovely wife Yvonne Peters and had five children with her. Afterwards, he taught and trained soldiers in New South Wales Jungle Training School during WW2 near Coffs Harbor. He was also promoted to the position of Major during WW2.

                On the date of 12th September 1980, at the old age of 83, Edward Francis Lynch, participant of both the World Wars, departed the world.

               

 

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