Lauriston BROWNELL


BROWNELL, Lauriston

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 3 September 1915, Claremont, Tasmania
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Claremont, Tasmania, 26 December 1892
Home Town: Claremont, Glenorchy, Tasmania
Schooling: The Friends' School; Leslie House School; Scotch College Melbourne and Dookie Agricultural College
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Killed In Action, 10 Casualty Clearing Station, Passchendaele, Belgium, 3 October 1917, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery
Plot 20, Row D, Grave 8. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperingthe, Belgium. His name is located at panel 109 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.
Memorials: Hobart Roll of Honour, North Hobart Friends' School Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

3 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Claremont, Tasmania
8 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
8 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 12th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Hobart
18 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Jan 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
24 Feb 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
12 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, HQ Infantry Base Depot Army Service Corps, Third Ypres
1 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 27th Infantry Battalion, Menin Road
31 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, SN Officer, Third Ypres
Date unknown: Involvement 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour Lauriston Brownell's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Described on enlisting as 22 years 8months old; single; 5’ 10” tall; 11 stone; ruddy complexion;
brown eyes; black  hair; Methodist, brown birthmark on back of right arm.

Father  William Percival Brownell, Liverpool Street, Hobart and
Mother  Julieann James (nee Scott)  of Claremont, Tasmania.

Schooling:  The Friends’ School (1 year high school);
                   Leslie House School (11 years)
                   Scotch College Melbourne (1 year)
                   Dookie Agricultural College (3 years) – Diploma Agriculture, VIC.

Next of kin in service:
Older brother  Major Herbert Percival Brownell
                       Served in the Australian Army Medical Corps in Gallipoli and the Western Front, France
                       Awarded the DSO and an MID.

Younger brother  Raymond James Brownell
                            Served initially with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade
                            Awarded the Military Medal
                           Then joined the Royal Flying Corp in March 1917
                           Awarded the Military Cross
                           - After the war joined the RAAF
                             rising to the rank of Air Commodore during the Second World War
                             Awarded "Commander of the British Empire".

Previous service:     1 year Volunteer Cadets, Scotch College Corps, VIC  1910
                                Quarter Master Sergeant  ‘B’ Company, 1st Depot Battalion

3/9/1915              Enlisted at Claremont, Tasmania
                            into the 19th reinforcement / 12th Battalion

8/8/1916              Embarked  from Ocean Pier, Hobart   on  HMAT A70 Ballarat
                            as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 19th reinforcement / 12th Battalion
30/9/1916            Disembarked into Plymouth, England

1/10/1916            Marched in from Australian Reinforcements, Perham Downs, England

18/11/1916          Transferred to the 27th Battalion

The 27th Battalion entered the front-line trenches for the first time on 7 April 1916 and took part in its first major battle at Pozières between 28 July and 5 August. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division returned to the south in October. The 27th Battalion took part in two attacks to the east of Flers in the Somme Valley, both of which floundered in the mud.

2/12/1916            Qualified as Instructor at the Southern Command Bombing School, Lyndhurst

22/1/1917            Proceeded overseas to France ex Headquarters AIF Depots in UK
23/1/1917            Admitted to hospital – sick, Etaples, France

4/2/1917              Marched out to unit
5/2/1917              Taken on strength from 20 reinf / 12th Battalion to 27th Battalion, France

Although the 27th Battlioin participated in minor attacks during the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in early 1917, it did not carry out a major attack again until 20 September 1917.

24/2/1917            Promoted to Lieutenant

15/4/1917            Admitted to hospital – sick – Influenza and fever, 5th Australian Field Hospital
6/5/1917              Rejoined unit from hospital

12/5/1917            Detached for duty at 2nd Division Headquarters

May-June 1917    Lieutenant Brownell served as an Aid-de-Camp to the General Officer Commanding
                            of the 3rd Australian Division, before rejoining his unit in the field.
1/7/1917              Rejoined 27th Battalion

14/7/1917            To England on leave

24/7/1917            Rejoined 27th Battalion – ceased to be seconded as Aid-de-Camp

26/8/1917            To School of Instruction

On the 20 September 1917 the 27th Battalion was part of the 2nd Division’s first wave at the battle of Menin Road. Victory here was followed up with the capture of Broodseinde Ridge on 4 October, in which the 27th Battalion also played a role.

3/10/1917            7.30am sitting in a trench at Zonnebeke, preparing to go over the trenches

                            when a shell was thrown into the trench.
                            Lieutenant Brownell was with Lieutenant Higgs and Major Fredericks, when they were
                            all hit by a shell and wounded.

3/10/1917            Single wound to abdomen
                            Taken to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance
                            Admitted and transferred to No.10 Casualty Clearing Station

Australian Red Cross Society Wounded & Missing – re Lt Brownell
Corporal L G Lambert  -  Etaples, France 13/2/1918
He was a C.Coy Officer and I was with him about October 3rd when he was knocked out on the morning we went over at Zonnebeke.  Time, about 8am. He was in a shell hole with Lt. Higgs (wounded) and Major Fredericks (wounded).  Mr Brownell and Lt Higgs were hit by same shell.  A piece went right into his abdomen. I helped to put him on a stretcher.  They were both taken to the Aid Post. I do not know where Mr Brownell died.
He seemed quite cheerful and was speaking to the Major after he was hit.

Private Sellick  WHS 3944  -  London, 13/3/1918
I saw him killed at Ypres.  He was caught by a shall and was very badly knocked about.  He lived about a half hour after being hit.  I knew him very well, he came from South Australia, and he was a very popular Officer, and very well liked by all the men.  I do not know place of burial, but the ground was held, and he was sure to have been buried.”

Lieutenant V A Riggs  -  France,  14/3/1918
Re the late Lieutenant L Brownell, about 7.30am on October 3rd 1917 we were sitting in a trench near Zonnebeke, when a shell landed close by, wounding both of us, I was carried away and Lieutenant L Brownell was being attended to by the Stretcher Bearers, who I believe assisted Major Devonshire.

3/10/1917            Died later in the day of wounds sustained in action
                            at No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station in Passchendaele, Belgium

4/10/1917            Buried by Captain Reverend Clark, Officiating Chaplain, at
                            Plot 20, Row D, Grave 8
                            Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery
                            1 ¾ miles south-west of Poperingthe,  Belgium
                            Lijssenthoek, West-Vlaanderen, Flanders, Belgium

Commemorated in Cornelian Bay Cemetery, Hobart, Tasmania.

WWI Star 1914-15;  British War medal (44571);  Victory medal (44068)
Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll (357233)


Like most AIF battalions, the 27th fought to turn back the German spring offensive in April 1918, and later in the year participated in a string of offensive battles as Germany was pushed ever closer to defeat. It attacked around Morlancourt on the night of 10 June; acted in a supporting role during the battle of Hamel on 4 July; and was in the first wave at the battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918. On 8 August, the battalion captured 9 artillery pieces, 25 machine guns and over 200 prisoners.

The Battalion’s last actions of the war were fought as part of the effort to break through the Beaurevoir Line in the first week of October 1918, but it was not disbanded until 4 June 1919.

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan.   18 September 2014.  Lest we forget.