Lewis Gordon BLACKMORE

Poppy

BLACKMORE, Lewis Gordon

Service Number: 79
Enlisted: 23 September 1914, Rosebery, New South Wales
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 1st Infantry Battalion
Born: College Town, South Australia, 21 May 1886
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Melbourne Grammar School and St Peter's College, Adelaide
Occupation: Farmer/Grazier
Died: Killed in Action , Pozières, France, 23 July 1916, aged 30 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Memorials: Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Melbourne Grammar School WW1 Fallen Honour Roll, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

23 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 79, Rosebery, New South Wales
21 Dec 1914: Promoted Lance Corporal, 6th Light Horse Regiment
21 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 79, 6th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
21 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 79, 6th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Suevic, Sydney
14 Jul 1915: Wounded Lance Corporal, SN 79, 6th Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, GSW (arm)
21 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 1st Infantry Battalion
12 Mar 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 1st Infantry Battalion
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 1st Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

The Letter Home


A letter from his friend Eric Shelley to Lewis parents describes the first engagement:-

“We moved up on the village of Pozieres on the night of July 19th and it was well into the morning of the 20th by the time we had taken over from the Tommies. Lew’s battalion were in the front.

All that day, the next and the next, we lay quiet letting the artillery do its work. The attack was timed for 12.30am on the night of the 22nd -­ 23rd July.

Two minutes prior to that time we started a violent artillery bombardment, then over our men went to the German first line and took it. For 30 minutes there raged another artillery bombardment our guns having lifted their range to the German 2nd line, then a signal and over we went again.

As close as I can gather this is where poor old Lew went down. The boy knew no pain thank God, a machine gun bullet got him in the forehead and he died instantly. I saw him a few hours previously and he went into it laughing and joking and full of hope and the surety he was coming out as well as he went in”

No Grave, no cemetery and no clergyman. He was buried in the heat of the action.

'Lest We Forget'

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Biography

From the book Fallen Sains

Lewis Gordon Blackmore was born in Adelaide South Australia in May 1886 and educated at Melbourne Grammar School, Victoria as well as the Collegiate School of St Peter in Adelaide.

He was an exceptional sportsman who distinguished himself playing Australian Rules football and cricket. He played football for Essendon in the VFL and his name is listed on the Victorian Cricket Association Register 1st XI Pennant, District & Premier cricketers.  

His father Edwin Gordon Blackmore CMG was the Clerk of the Senate between April 1901 and June 1908 and for several years was an examiner and lecturer in history at the University of Adelaide and governor of the Collegiate School of St Peter. [i]

Edwin had served with the Taranaki Rifle Volunteers in the Maori War, was in the action at Poutoko in 1863 as well as the attack and capture of the Maori strongholds of Ahuahu and Kaitake in 1864.

Lewis’s parents were married in the St Peter's College chapel in 1872 so it is not surprising that after such a long and close association with the School he and all five of his brothers, Gordon, John, George, James and Edwin were educated there. Prior enlisting at Rosebery, New South Wales in September 1914, Lewis was a farmer and grazier and would have been used to working with horses, which was probably the reason he was posted to the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment.

The 6th Light Horse Regiment was raised at Holsworthy New South Wales in September 1914, and with the 5th and 7th Light Horse Regiments formed the 2nd Light Horse Brigade.

Trooper Blackmore, A Squadron, 6th Light Horse Regiment sailed with his unit from Sydney Harbour, aboard HMAT Suevic on 21 December and on Christmas Eve was appointed lance corporal. In Egypt, the regiment trained with the remainder of the Brigade and after landing at Anzac on 20 May 1915 was attached to the 1st Australian Division.

On 14 July 1915, Lance Corporal Blackmore was shot in the right arm and admitted to the Hospital Ship Gascon suffering from a compound fracture of the Ulna; he was evacuated to Malta for further treatment and admitted to Floriana Military Hospital on 18 July.

In September he was transferred to Intarfa Hospital with enteric fever and at the end of the month was transferred via Hospital Ship Regina D’Italia to Wales and admitted to 3rd West General Hospital Cardiff.

In late December, he sailed from England aboard the Oriana and rejoined his unit at Maadi, Egypt in January. Perhaps when told the 2nd Light Horse Brigade was to remain in Egypt as part of the ANZAC Mounted Division, he thought France would be a more interesting option for in February 1916 he transferred to the 1st Battalion.

The majority of the men in the 1st Battalion like those of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions were from New South Wales and together these battalions formed the 1st Infantry Brigade.

At the beginning of March he attended a course on Command at the School of Instruction, Zeitoun Camp and after ten days was appointed Second Lieutenant; he sailed for France with the battalion aboard HMT Ivernia on 22 March.

On 23 July during the battalion’s first major engagement in France, Second Lieutenant Blackmore commander of 13 Platoon D Company was killed in action: he was 30 years of age.

Six days after he was killed, a man who was wounded during the battle, Private Thomas Cadet, said he saw Second Lieutenant Blackmore struck by a machine gun bullet on Sunday, 23rd July. ‘We were attacking Pozières about 1 am.  I saw that Blackmore was dead. An Australian, short, thick set, dark, clean shaven about 23’. [ii]



[i] Reid, G, Blackmore, Edwin Gordon, (1837 - 1909) Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, p. 176-177
[ii] Australian War Memorial, Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files - Blackmore, Lewis Gordon / 0410403 viewed 26 September 2005

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