Raymond Horsley LEWIS MM

Badge Number: SA14520, Sub Branch: Brighton
SA14520

LEWIS, Raymond Horsley

Service Number: 5182
Enlisted: 30 June 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 1st Divisional Signal Company
Born: Parkside South Australia, 23 October 1890
Home Town: Kalangadoo, Wattle Range, South Australia
Schooling: Glenelg
Occupation: Clerk, SA Railways
Died: Natural Causes, North Adelaide, South Australia, 5 November 1984, aged 94 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Cremation
Memorials: Adelaide South Australian Railways WW1 & WW2 Honour Boards, Karoonda District Roll of Honor, Penola District WW1 Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

30 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick, South Australia
5 Jan 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 5182, 1st Divisional Signal Company, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
5 Jan 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 5182, 1st Divisional Signal Company, HMAT Afric, Melbourne
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 5182, 1st Divisional Signal Company, Battle for Pozières
2 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 5182, 1st Divisional Signal Company, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
27 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 5182, 1st Divisional Signal Company, Third Ypres
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 5182, 1st Divisional Signal Company, "The Last Hundred Days"
13 Jul 1919: Discharged AIF WW1

Awarded the Military Medal

Military Medal

'(Lagnicourt 3 May 1917) Conspicuous gallantry as linesman in repairing and maintaining communications under heavy fire.'

"At Lagnicourt France on the morning of 3rd May 1917, during the operations of the 2nd Australian Division, Sapper Lewis displayed conspicuous gallantry in carrying out his duties as a linesman.

For four hours he patrolled and maintained the telephone lines connecting Brigade Headquarters with the lefty Battalion in the line, and during the greater part of this time, the area was subjected to very heavy enemy shellfire. He passed several times through the enemy's barrage, and on two occasions had to practically stand in the barrage whilst making repairs to the telephone cables. It was chiefly due to his efforts that constant telephone communication was maintained with the left Battalion



Recommendation date: 8 May 1917

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 189
Date: 8 November 1917

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Recommendation for Distinguished Conduct Medal - Pozieres

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'Conspicuous bravery & devotion to duty at Pozieres.'
Recommendation date: 30 July 1916

My Uncle - Sapper Raymond Horsley LEWIS

The eldest of nine children, Ray was a ‘knockabout’ in his parents’ township of Kalangadoo who eventually travelled to Queensland and worked as a cane cutter. He returned to Kalangadoo after two cane seasons and joined the Railways, ultimately becoming a clerk.

He enlisted 30 June, 1915 and embarked on 5 January 1916.

Raymond’s war ended in an English hospital from where he was discharged on December 21 1918. He was entitled at that point to 14 day’s leave!

He married on the same day in the city of Bath, and holidayed in Torquay before ultimately returning to Australia.

Upon his return he rejoined the Railways and continued with them until the late 1940s when he was declared legally blind.

Ray would outlive his wife by a good number of years and spent his final days at the Helping Hand Centre, North Adelaide, but not before he was rewarded with a (then) revolutionary corneal transplant operation during 1980 that partially restored his sight.

From then until his passing he wrote, fluently and with passion, of the joys of being once again able to distinguish colours during the many walks that he took.

He is very fondly remembered by all surviving members of his family.

Steve Lewis

Lest We Forget

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Biography

 

Having enlisted in June 1915 is was not until late March 1916 that Raymond Lewis 1916 boarded SS Kingstonian enroute to France

On in France he saw action at Pozieres, Albert, the Somme, Ypres, Bullecourt, Lagnicourt, Vignacourt and Amiens

A diary entry from May 3, 1917 during the Second Battle of Bullecourt reads:

“Railway bank near Bullecourt …

5th, 6th Bdes attack Hindenberg line at dawn. Enemy barrage heavy. Our troops capture trenches in front of Bullecourt and hold them against counter attacks. 5th Bde held up for a time by barrange, but subsequently push forward. 6th Bde Sig Section suffered casualties and volunteer linesman asked for. I give it a fly. Leave ASB 9.30. Godoruil, thence to railway bank, the late front line. Saps blocked with relieving troops, carrying parties and Tommy RE troops. Confusion. Lob railway bank 1.30am.Counter attack by enemy 10pm failed. 28th Bn going to retire. 24th Bn officer prevents a catastrophe.”

And another entry from Sunday May 13, 1917

“Biefvillers …

Quite lazy day. Go to refresher school at Divn. Receive message from Lt. Ferguson congratulating Ron Bell and self on being awarded the Military Medal. Surprise to me!”

On 27 October 1917 he was promoted to Lance Corporal

On Sunday August 25, 1918, Raymond was heavily gassed for a period in excess of two hours and was evacuated to a casualty clearing station near Corbie. From there he was transported via hospital train to a hospital at Rouen. A trip to ‘Blighty’ (England) followed. A diary entry of September 6 1918 indicates that he had developed iritis and had a specialist attending him.

 

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