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A tribute to...

Eric and Neville Lipscomb

Published: Wed 10th Nov 2021


"Eric & Neville Lipscomb, served in the infantry & artillery in WW1. Two of five brothers that showed courage and commitment representing Australia until 1917."

- by the Lipscomb family


2348 Private

Eric John Lipscomb

34th Bn. Australian Infantry, A.I.F.

Born - 24th September 1894

Died - 16th May 1917,  aged 22.

He is buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery, Ploegsteert, in Belgium. Plot II. D. 13

(Private) Eric John Lipscomb was born 24th September 1894 at Normanhurst, the son of William and Jessie Lipscomb. William Lipscomb was a successful butcher in the Normanhurst and Wahroonga districts of Sydney, and in 1912 he had purchased a farm called Wandilly, near Milroy west of Gunnedah, so that his five sons could gain some agricultural experience.

Eric (one of those sons) had studied for a time at Hawkesbury Agricultural College, and was working on this farm when he succumbed to the enticement of the recruiting marches that prevailed at that time (such as the Cooee March and the Wallabies).

Eric enlisted at Gunnedah on 13th July 1916 and joined 34th Battalion Reinforcements, training at Armidale and Maitland. Eric left Sydney on 17th October 1916 on board the Troopship Borda - calling in at Melbourne, Durban, Cape Town, and Freetown, Sierra Leone en route to England.   He disembarked on 9th January 1917 at Plymouth and moved to Durrington Camp, Lark Hill, Salisbury - not far from Stonehenge.

On 15th April 1917 Eric wrote to his mother:

"We had a very big review at Bulford last week. About 75,000 Australians were inspected by the King and it was a grand sight I can tell you.

In the march past I was only about four yards away from the King so I had a very good look at him, judging from outward appearances he is a very insignificant looking man and badly in want of a shave. He is a very small man somewhere about 5 feet 2 inches. The Hon. Andy Fisher and Gregory Wade were also out at the inspection. They seem to be able to have a fairly good time although it is war time."

On 30th April 1917 Eric was posted to the Armentieres sector of the front. He was killed in action by an artillery bombardment on 16th May 1917 near Le Tourquet in Belgium only ten days after going into action. 

Eric Lipscomb was 22 years old.

33 Gunner

Neville Henry Lipscomb

10th Field Artillery Brigade, A.I.F.

Born - 2nd October 1896

Died - 3rd April 1917. aged 20.

He is buried at Ecoust Military Cemetery, Ecoust St Mein, in France Plot II. A. 27.

(Gunner) Neville Henry Lipscomb was born on 2nd October 1896 at Normanhurst, the son of William and Jessie Lipscomb. He was a student at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (HAC), Richmond, when he enlisted with a contingent of fellow HAC students on 24th August 1914 in the First Light Horse Field Ambulance under the command of Major William Helsham; his regimental number was 33. After training at Queen's Park, Waverly and then Broadmeadows, Victoria.

Neville departed Melbourne in October 1914 on board the troopship Southern, bound for Egypt via Albany and Colombo; he observed the Sydney/Emden naval battle enroute. Neville undertook further training in Egypt, and served as a medical orderly on hospital ships Galeko, Minnewaska, Saturnia and Clan McGillivray, evacuating wounded from Gallipoli.

He landed at Gallipoli in August 1915 and served as a stretcher bearer for two weeks - notably assisting in the evacuation of wounded New Zealand troops from Chunuk Bair - until he himself was evacuated with dysentery. After a brief spell in hospital at Mudros, he was evacuated to Malta and then to England, where he was admitted to the County of London War Hospital at Epsom.

On recovery he was sent back to Egypt where he immediately requested a transfer to the Artillery Corps in the expectation that such a move would be more likely to enable him to see action; he was posted to the 37th Battery at Seraphum, Egypt. In June 1916 Gunner Neville Lipscomb joined the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) at Alexandria and sailed for Marseilles on the Arcadian. After travelling north by train he moved to the Armentieres Sector and relieved 2nd Div Artillery near Bois Grenier (4 km south of Armentieres).

He served at Ypres in September 1916, and moved to Bullecourt in April 1917, operating 18 pounder field guns. On 23rd April 1917 he was rendering first aid to a wounded comrade, Gunner Douglas Ferguson (from Wellington, NSW), when both were killed by artillery fire.

Neville Lipscomb was 20 years old.

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