Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain,
Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain

ID number P04598.001
Collection Photograph
Object type Black & white - Print silver gelatin
Photographer Bee Belton
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c October 1916


Studio portrait of artist Frances Vida Lahey and two of her brothers: 2743A Sapper (Spr) Noel Alaric Lahey, 9th Battalion (centre), and 2nd Lieutenant (2Lt) Romeo Watkins Lahey, 3rd Divisional Engineers. Vida, the eldest of twelve siblings, moved from the family home in Corinda, Qld, to London in July 1916 to provide a home base for her brothers and cousins serving in the AIF. Soon after arriving she became involved in voluntary war work tracing aeroplane parts, working at the Anzac buffet, taking servicemen on convalescent leave on outings, and other activities with the Red Cross Society. Spr Noel Lahey served in France with the 9th Battalion until June 1916, when he received a gunshot wound to the right arm and was evacuated to hospitals in Boulogne and England. He later transferred to the 11th Field Company Australian Engineers (part of the 3rd Divisional Engineers) to be with his brother Romeo. On 9 June 1917 Spr Lahey was wounded in action at Ploegsteert Wood, Messines, France. Suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, he was admitted to the 9th Australian Field Ambulance, where his brother Romeo visited him. The following day he died from his wounds, aged 25 years. 2Lt Romeo served in France with the 3rd Divisional Engineers, and was promoted to Lieutenant in January 1917. He fought at Zonnebeke, Passchendaele, the Somme, Villers Bretonneux and in the final advance to the Hindenburg Line. In August 1918 he was briefly seconded as assistant staff captain to the 11th Infantry Brigade headquarters. After the war, whilst waiting to be repatriated, Lt Romeo Lahey attended a town planning course at the University of London's School of Architecture, and won the prestigious Lever Prize for his redesign of a war damaged approach road from Charing Cross to Euston station. He returned to Australia in May 1919. Several years after the war, Vida recorded the Armistice Day celebrations she had witnessed in London on 11 November 1918 in the painting 'Rejoicing and Remembrance', which is held in the Memorial's collection at ART19592.