Lancelot Vicary Horniman
Serial No. 2146
2nd Battalion, 54th Battalion & 55th Battalion
Lancelot Vicary Horniman - Information
Lancelot, born in Shellharbour, later moved to Campbelltown with his family, including his older brother, Robert. Lancelot was quite a smart chap. After attending District School in West Kempsey he received a Bachelor of Arts from Sydney University. He then started studying law and began working as a clerk for the Justice Department. Both Lancelot and his brother, Robert, decided to join the AIF together, enlisting within days of each other at Liverpool in April 1915. Lancelot was assigned to the 2nd Battalion as a Private. His unit departed Sydney on the HMAT Karoola on the 16th of June 1915.
Lancelot arrived in Egypt and was shipped to Gallipoli where he was taken on strength to the 2nd Battalion in late October. With the winter making life in the trenches miserable, the Gallipoli campaign was called off as it was proving too costly and ineffective. Lancelot was then transported back to Egypt, and was promoted Lance Corporal in January 1916. The following month, he was transferred to the 54th Battalion and in March, joined his new unit at Tel-el-Kebir and was promoted Lance Sergeant. In May, Lancelot was then promoted Sergeant, and in June, the 54th Battalion was shipped to the Western Front. The 54th Battalion were shortly rushed into action on the 19th of July with the Battle of Fromelles. Designed as a diversion from the Somme Campaign, the men were ordered to tie down German troops running across No Man’s Land into machine gun crossfire. On the 20th of July, Lancelot was injured when a grenade blast sent shrapnel into his right thigh. He was admitted to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital, and was then evacuated to England to the 1st Southern General Hospital in Birmingham. He enjoyed some convalescence at No. 6 Command Depot at Wareham, where he continued to impress those around him. Lancelot was now well on a pathway to becoming an officer. After his time at Wareham, he was marched out to Oxford to the Cadet Battalion. By April, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant and was assigned duty with the 14th Training Battalion and various other depots where he became Lieutenant. In June 1918, Lancelot was taken back to the trenches, now part of the 55th Battalion. At the time, they were advancing towards the German lines after repelling their Spring Offensive. In August, Lancelot and his unit were undertaking operations at Peronne. On the 1st of September, Lancelot had just moved his platoon forward to a new position and was sitting in a shell hole observing the enemy. As he was looking around, he was hit in the head with a machine gun bullet, killing him instantly. After the attack, his body was found in the shell hole, his colours were missing and his head had been bandaged. His comrades buried him in St Denis near Peronne, which was an old German Cemetery.
Back in Campbelltown, Lancelot’s father, David Horniman, decided to honour Lancelot’s memory. David held a prominent position within the Commercial Bank of Campbelltown and worked closely developing the Campbelltown Soldiers Memorial School of Arts in the 1920s. The Memorial, which was opened in October 1925, provided a place of remembrance and support for returned servicemen. David continued to help the soldiers of Campbelltown, as Treasurer, on the Memorial’s committee.