Lionel Oxborrow BETTS OBE

BETTS, Lionel Oxborrow

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 11 November 1914
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 9th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Alberton, South Australia, 27 April 1886
Home Town: Maitland, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
Schooling: Way College, Adelaide University
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: North Adelaide, South Australia, 19 January 1943, aged 56 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Streaky Bay School Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

11 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 9th Light Horse Regiment
11 Feb 1915: Involvement Captain, 9th Light Horse Regiment
11 Feb 1915: Embarked Captain, 9th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Karroo, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Excerpt from Blood Sweat and Fears: Medical Practitioners and Medical Students of South Australian who Served in World War 1. Courtesy of the Authors

Lionel Oxborrow Betts was born on 27th April 1886, son of William Henry and Elizabeth Betts. He was educated at Way College, Greenhill Rd, Wayville and studied medicine at the University of Adelaide where he graduated in 1907. Betts played cover point in the SA Lacrosse team against Victoria in 1908. He practiced in Maitland until he enlisted. He married Miss Beatrice Mills, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. Mills of Beetaloo.

Betts enlisted in the AAMC on 13th November 1914 as a Captain. He was 28 years, 5ft 10ins tall, 154lbs, blue eyes with fair hair. His wife was noted as next of kin.  Betts embarked in HMAT Karroo from Melbourne on 11th Feb 1915 and was posted to 9th LH Regt and served in Egypt, Gallipoli and the desert campaigns. He was invalided to Australia for 8 months in 1916 due to a paratyphoid B infection. He once again embarked from Australia on 14th August 1916 in Itria returning to duty. He was promoted to Major on the 11th November 1916.  He saw service in the No.2 Aust Command Depot, Weymouth, England in 1918 and then in France at Boulogne with the 13FdAmb, 52Bn, 49Bn in Boulogne and Wimmereux which formed one of the chief hospital areas. Betts was appointed OBE on 3rd June 1919. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in March 1919. Betts returned to Australia on the Davanha to 4MD Adelaide on 20th June 1919 with his service terminated on 19th August 1919. He was issued with the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Betts took up general medical practice at Semaphore Road, Semaphore until 1926, when he went to Liverpool to study orthopaedics under Sir Robert Jones, gaining the Robert Jones Medal. He became one of the pioneers of orthopaedic surgery in Adelaide on his return in 1928, and for many years worked at Escourt House at Semaphore South. It was in this period that he became attached to the Port Adelaide Rowing Club; he was its Patron from 1923-1930. A boat bearing his name was launched by the Club in 1924. He unveiled the Memorial Clock Tower on the foreshore at Semaphore on the 24th May 1925 when he was president of the local RSL Sub Branch. Betts was a keen stud stock master, and his Ryeland and Corriedale sheep studs were widely known. His Talungabee Ryeland flock, founded in 1932, was regarded as one of the best in Australia. Championship honours and many class prizes were gained by his rams and ewes at the Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne shows. The Corriedale flock was established in 1929, and although not so prominent in the interstate show rings, the type and quality of the sheep have been highly regarded in South Australia. During WW2 he was placed on the active reserve list AAMC 4MD. Betts was living at, Kings Grove, Tranmere in 1942. Lionel Oxborrow Betts died on 19th January 1943 aged 56 years; he was survived by his wife and son Dr WJ Betts and daughter Mrs J Cohn. After his death a memorial fund was established under the Chairmanship of the Lord Mayor to erect a sun playroom for children at Escourt house.

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