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Henry Charles Lillywhite

Lance Corporal

Serial No:
Serial No. 1581

2nd Battalion & Fleet Sweep Unit


Henry Charles Lillywhite - Information

Henry was born in Paddington, London, where he grew up. He completed his schooling, and later migrated to Australia. He settled in the Camden area and found work as a labourer. To serve the mother country, he enlisted in the AIF. He signed up on the 28th of December 1914 in Liverpool, aged 34. Henry was then sent overseas from Sydney on the 11th of February 1915 onboard the HMAT Seang Choon.

Henry disembarked in Egypt, and presently joined the 2nd Battalion at Gallipoli in mid May. However, the poor quality food and unsanitary conditions in the trenches took its toll. He reported sick in late June at Gaba Tepe with diarrhoea. A couple of days later, he was transferred to the Fleet Sweeper Unit on lighter duties. He rejoined the 2nd Battalion in mid July. However, Henry continued to be plagued by dysentery. He reported sick on the 2nd of August, and was evacuated to Egypt, to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Heliopolis. A week later, he was admitted to the Convalescence Hospital in Helouan. He rejoined his unit on Lemnos Island in mid September. The campaign was soon called off, and the 2nd Battalion was stationed back in Egypt at the end of December. With strategy moving to the Western Front, the infantry were transported to France. Henry touched down in March 1916. Henry and his unit were introduced into the quandary of fighting on the Western Front, conducting patrols and night raids in what was known as The Nursery. Subsequently, they were positioned for assaults during the Somme Offensive. The 2nd Battalion attacked the Germans at Pozières in late July. Here, Henry was wounded on the 22nd of July, when he was knocked by artillery fire with fragments slicing his right cheek. The 2nd Field Ambulance transported him to the Casualty Clearing Station. He was admitted to the 5th General Hospital in Rouen. On the 1st of August, he was invalided to England, but returned to France the following month. He was most likely suffering from shell shock, however, military authorities were under pressure to keep men at the front. Shortly, after rejoining his unit, he was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 26th of October. He was then wounded in action again on the 28th of December. He was carried away by the 3rd Field Ambulance where he died of his wounds on the 29th of December 1916. He is now at peace in the Bernafray Wood British Cemetery in Montauban, France. After the war ended, the Camden Returned Soldier’s and Sailor’s Imperial League of Australia enquired into Henry’s military service to honour his sacrifice.