Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lewis Brothers in Arms who gave the ultimate sacrifice

Harold Lewis WW1The Lewis Brothers of Cockwhy were the sons of Thomas Henry Lewis and his Ada Mary nee Pryce. Both Harold and Robert were born in Bendoc Victoria, with the Lewis family moving to Ulladulla region in the early 1900s and established an apple orchard at Cockwhy.

Harold spent most of his life on the land, and was an expert bushman, standing 6ft 2in in height and worked as a labourer at Fred Sellick’s farm at Cockwhy.

Harold Walter Lewis enlisted at Milton in May 1915 and was assigned as a private to the 1st Battalion, 5th Reinforcement leaving Sydney in June 1915 for active service. He celebrated his 23rd birthday on the shores of Gallipoli.

He was wounded in the fight at Lone Pine, and having recovered, had just returned to the front again, when he was killed in action on December 1, 1915 at the Dardanelles. He is buried at the Shell Green Cemetery, Gallipoli Peninsula, 1150 yards south of Anzac Cove.

badgeaifww1His epitaph at Gallipoli reads: To Live In Hearts, We Leave Behind, Is Not To Die. Harold name is listed on the Kendall Cottage Memorial – To Our Fallen Comrades, Milton Ulladulla RSL Honour Roll, Milton Town Memorial, Milton Church of England, Yatte Yattah Community and the Batemans Bay War Memorial. He is on the Milton Primary School Honour roll as his Brother Robert Lewis.

Milton Ulladulla Times in February 1916 published:

Mrs. Lewis (of Cockwhy) is in receipt of the following letter from Lieut. H. W. Beavis from the trenches: — Dear Mrs. Lewis, These few lines to express the deepest sympathy of our company to you on account of the death of your son Harold, who was killed while gallantly doing his duty on the night of the 1st December. One and all, both officers and men, of A Company, knew both too well of your sons sterling qualities as a soldier and 4 comrade. In fact he was one of those who could be always relied upon even during the most difficult operations. He was killed whilst in advance of our trenches, death being instantaneous. Having lost a brother I but too well know what a terrible ‘ thing it is to lose one near and dear; but ‘however hard, grand to see duty most gallantly carried out. I feel that we have lost one of our best men in every way, so when baying to censor the enclosed letter, I could not but give this little expression of our sympathy, and we all trust you will find some comfort in the fact that your son; was one of the gallant band of Australians who have fallen in such a grand cause.

Robert James Lewis like his brother was an was an expert bushman, he enlisted in May 1916 at Kiama via Milton, in August 1916 he embarked on HMAT Anchises A68 with the 45th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement. Robert was never to see Australian soil again.

He like his brother Harold, gave the ultimate sacrifice, Robert was killed in in Belgium on June 7, 1917, and buried Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium. He was first listed as wounder as missing in action, in December 1917 he was declared as killed in action.

Robert’s name also is listed on many of the local Honour Rolls:  Kendall Cottage Memorial – To Our Fallen Comrades, Milton Ulladulla RSL Honour Roll, Milton Church of England, Milton Town Memorial, Milton Primary School, Yatte Yattah Community roll and the Batemans Bay War Memorial.

The Lewis family continued with the apple orchard until the 1930s. Members of the Lewis family married into local families from both Milton and Batemans Bay including the Turnbull, Leaney, Donovan, Mackey, Petty and Cole families.

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