Just when we thought all our ancestors who served our country were accounted for, I remembered that there was a Lymburner relative who was lost in WWI.
Geoffrey Arnold Lymburner No. 372 was born the 6th child of 8, on the 7th April 1898 to Ellis William Lymburner and Mary Ellen Chisholm Ross from Ayr, Queensland. Ellis William is an older brother of my Great Grandfather Charles Harry Norman Lymburner.
It had been some time since I had found the information that I had on Geoffrey, so I did some more research at the National Archives and the Australian War Memorial. A quick “virtual” flight to France and I was able to pull up the information that tells us he is buried at the Etretat Churchyard Extension in Plot II, Row E, Grave No. 16, France. Etretat is a small seaside town about 26 kilometres north of Le Havre. The churchyard is on the D.940 from Fecamp. The battlefields of the Western Front became known as Flanders Fields, a phrase originated from a poem titled In Flanders Fields by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
Geoffrey enlisted in the Machine Gun Company 7, Reinforcement 5 on the 30th March 1916 at the age of 19. At the time he was living in Bowen, Queensland. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A73 Commonwealth on 19th September 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth on the 14th November 1916 when he was marched in to No 3 Camp then marched out to Grantham on the 23rd Nov 1916. During WWI Grantham had several camps, one being Belton Park that had been used as a training centre for the Machine Gun Corps.
While in Grantham he spent some of that time in hospital. Some of the history of Grantham and the goings on can be read here : http://womenshistorynetwork.org/blog/?p=3048
He proceeded overseas from Southampton to France on the 17th March 1918 but again spent time in and out of hospitals. By June of 1918 he had been transferred to the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion and appointed to Lance Corporal on the 7th June 1918. Unfortunately Geoffrey was wounded in action on the 18th July 1918.
A letter to Mr. E.W.Lymburner, Inkerman Siding, Bowen Line, Queensland, dated 14th March 1919 from the Major, Officer i/c (In Charge) Base Records advises “with reference to the report of the regrettable loss of your son, the late No. 372, Corporal G.A.G. Lymburner, 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, I am now in receipt of advice which shows that he was wounded in action on 18th July 1918, and admitted to the 6th Field Ambulance. On the 19th idem (same) he was transferred to the 1st United States of America General Hospital, Etretat, France, on the 20th idem where he died on the 25th July, 1918, as the result of his wounds (shell wound right shoulder and head.) He was buried at Etretat Cemetery, France, the Rev. F.J. Irwin officiating.
The utmost care and attention is being devoted where possible to the graves of our soldiers. It is understood that photographs are being taken as soon as is possible and these will be transmitted to next-of-kin when available.
These additional details are furnished by direction, it being the policy of the Department to forward all information received in connection with deaths of members of the Australian Imperial Force.”
Geoffrey’s personal effects were received from the field on the 7th August 1918 and subsequently forwarded to the family. One parcel containing: 2 discs, comb, writing wallet, pocket wallet, brass bracelet, pipe, fountain pen, purse, rosary, letters, cards, 2 handkerchiefs, 3 coins, 6 buttons, photos.
I wonder if any of these effects have been handed down through the families in Queensland!?
Knowing that he is buried in France in Flanders Fields, here is the poem we all know so well.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
Photos courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, no copyright and are now in the public domain.