|Object type||Last Post film|
Australian War Memorial
|Place made||Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell|
|Date made||9 June 2018|
First World War, 1914-1918
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
|Copying Provisions||Copy provided for personal non-commercial use|
The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (33) Gunner Neville Henry Lipscomb, 10th Field Artillery Brigade and (2348) Private Eric John Lipscomb, 34th Battalion, First World War.
The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (33) Gunner Neville Henry Lipscomb, 10th Field Artillery Brigade and (2348) Private Eric John Lipscomb, 34th Battalion, First World War.
33 Gunner Neville Henry Lipscomb, 10th Field Artillery Brigade and 2348 Private Eric John Lipscomb, 34th Battalion
Neville: KIA 23 April 1917, aged 21
Eric: KIA 16 May 1917, aged 23
Story delivered 9 June 2018
Today we remember and pay tribute to Gunner Neville Henry Lipscomb and Private Eric John Lipscomb.
Neville and Eric were brothers, part of William and Jessie Lipscomb’s family of seven boys and one girl. They were both born in Normanhurst, New South Wales – Eric in 1894 and Neville in 1896 – and attended Warrawee Public School and then Hawkesbury Agricultural College in Richmond. On the outbreak of war in 1914, Eric was working as a farmer in partnership with his elder brother Fred on a property at Gunnedah; Neville was a student at Hawkesbury Agricultural College in Richmond.
Neville Lipscomb was the first of the family to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force. He was one of a group of 30 students who left the agricultural college to enlist the same month war broke out, and had to put his age up from 18 to 19 to make sure he was accepted. He was posted to the 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance and left Australia for active service overseas a month later. Private Neville Lipscomb landed on Gallipoli with the light horse regiments in May 1915, serving as a stretcher bearer assisting in the evacuation of wounded New Zealand troops from Chunuk Bair until being evacuated with dysentery. Lipscomb was so ill that he was sent to hospital in England to recover, returning to Egypt early the following year. In Egypt he requested a transfer to the artillery, believing that such a move would be more likely to enable him to see action, and was posted to the 37th Battery.
Eldest brother Fred Lipscomb was the next in the family to enlist, doing so in July 1915 while Neville was still on Gallipoli. The brothers finally met up with each other in France in 1916. Fred continued to serve with the 19th Battalion, and in 1916 was wounded and awarded the Military Cross for his conspicuous gallantry at Pozieres. He would later be promoted to lieutenant.
1916 was also the year that Eric Lipscomb enlisted. He had been left to run the farm at Gunnedah after Fred’s departure, but was enticed into enlisting by a recruiting march. Leaving the farm in the hands of his father, he entered the 34th Battalion, arriving in England in mid-January 1917 and continuing training on the Salisbury Plain for some weeks.
A week before Eric arrived in France, Neville Lipscomb’s battery was in action near the French village of Bullecourt. On 23 April 1917 they came under enemy fire. As Neville went to the aid of a wounded man, another shell fell nearby. The wounded man survived, but Neville Lipscomb was struck in the head by a fragment of shell and killed outright.
Just over three weeks later, Eric Lipscomb’s battalion was in a relatively quiet sector of the front line at Armentieres that came under German shell-fire. A fragment of shell struck Eric in the head, and he was killed instantly.
In Australia it was reported that “these two lads were typical young Australians, fine, big fellows and of the happiest disposition. They … gave promise of being solid men who would keep to the front in their work, and doubtless would have given a good account of themselves.”
Eric Lipscomb was 23 years old; his brother Neville was 21.
Today Neville Lipscomb’s remains lie buried in the military cemetery at Ecoust St. Mein, not far from Bullecourt, under the words “Father, in thy gracious keeping, leave we now our loved one sleeping”.
Eric Lipscomb is buried in Tancrez Farm Cemetery, close to Armentieres, under the words “He has fought the good fight; he has finished his course”.
Fred Lipscomb returned to Australia. In 1920 he was appointed secretary to the Repatriation Committee of the Liverpool Plains district, becoming a tireless fundraiser for repatriation causes.
Eric and Neville Lipscombs’ names are listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among almost 62,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Gunner Neville Henry Lipscomb and his brother Private Eric John Lipscomb, who gave their lives for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
Historian, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (33) Gunner Neville Henry Lipscomb, 10th Field Artillery Brigade and (2348) Private Eric John Lipscomb, 34th Battalion, First World War. (video)