The Great War had been fought for little over a year, when Henry Burg and Thomas Pease of Lambton called a public meeting in September 1915, to form a committee to provide a “send-off to our boys for the front” and to welcome home wounded and invalided soldiers. Just two weeks later the committee was at work, farewelling Private J Mitchell at the Marquis of Lorne Hotel. Thomas Pease’s involvement in the committee soon took on a personal aspect, when his younger brother Harry enlisted in November. How much that affected his own decision, we don’t know, but in January 1916 Thomas also enlisted. In March, the send-off committee presented Harry and Thomas with inscribed wallets, and on 1 May 1916 the brothers embarked together from Sydney on the steamship Benalla. Even as they sailed, Thomas’ wife Mary was busy at home fundraising for the Ladies’ Anzac Club.
The brothers arrived in Salisbury Plains, England, where they trained for several months before departing to France in November. Thomas was at the front for just four months before being repatriated to a hospital in England, suffering chronic synovitis, a severe inflammation in his knee. Shortly afterwards came the news that Harry had been shot during action, and had died of his wounds on 30 May 1917.
Thomas’ health did not improve, and he was sent home. He was accorded a public welcome in the Coronation Hall in October 1917. One year later, the foundation stone for the Lambton Park Memorial Gates was laid, and in the following months Thomas saw his own name, and that of his deceased brother Harry engraved on the gate pillars, alongside 138 other Lambton soldiers. The war ended and the men came home, each to an enthusiastic welcome from the citizens.
In March 1920, the returned soldiers held a banquet in gratitude for “the excellent work of the patriotic bodies of Lambton.” The president of the organising committee? Mr Thomas Pease.
The article above was first published in the October 2018 edition of The Local.
- Further information on the Lambton Park Memorial Gates, including a list of all the men whose names are on the gates.
- “Lambton Memorial Gates” list of articles on Trove.
- National Archive of Australia service records
- There was another Thomas Pease from Adamstown who enlisted on 22 January 1916. (Regimental Number 536.) He appears to be a cousin of the Thomas Pease from Lambton.
- It is interesting to note that Henry Burg, one of the instigators of the send-off and welcome committee, was an Australian born son of a German immigrant.
|Article Date Event Date||Notes|
|13 Oct 1915|
11 Oct 1915
|"A send-off, promoted by a local committee was accorded to Private J. Mitchell, on the eve of his departure for the front at the Marquis of Lorne Hotel on Monday evening."|
|8 Jan 1916||A report on a recruiting rally concludes noting that "Fifteen recruits were obtained during the evening, and among the volunteers was Mr. T. Pease, a former delegate of the Colliery Employees' Federation."|
|5 Feb 1916||"Private T Pease one of the members of the committee who has enlisted, tendered his resignation as a member, but at the request of those present he decided to remain on the committee until his departure for the front."|
|15 Mar 1916|
13 Mar 1916
|Harry and Thomas Pease presented with pocket wallets from the citizens' committee.|
|13 Apr 1916||"A meeting of the residents in favour of giving a fitting send-off to Privates T. Pease and H. Smith, who were for some time members of the delegate board of the Colliery Employees' Federation, and interested themselves in all public matters, was held in the Central Hall on Tuesday evening."|
|26 Apr 1916|
24 Apr 1916
|A social in honour of Privates Pease, H. Smith, M. Grey, and others, held in Malbon's Hall. Last mention of the Pease brothers being in Lambton prior to their embarkation from Sydney.|
|26 May 1916|
25 May 1916
|Mrs T Pease assisting at a fundraising bazaar under the auspices of the Ladies' Anzac Club|
|20 Sep 1916||Thomas Pease writes a letter from Salisbury Plains to his wife in Lambton.|
|11 Nov 1916||Poem from Private Harry Pease from Salisbury Plains to his friends in Lambton.|
|11 Jun 1917||"Mr. and Mrs. J. Pease, of Young-road, Lambton, have been notified that their son, Private Harry Pease died at Second Australian Casualty Clearing Station from gun shot in back and arm."|
|16 Jun 1917||Death notice for Harry Pease.|
|31 Aug 1917||Letter from Private Maurice Gray to Mr and Mrs J Pease, with information and codolences concerning the death during action of Harry Pease.|
|21 Sep 1917|
19 Sep 1917
|Private Thomas Pease arrives home to Lambton and is accorded an informal welcome at his parents' residence in Young Road.|
|29 Sep 1917|
28 Sep 1917
|A public welcome for returned soldiers in the Coronation Hall. "The chairman regretted the absence of Private T. Pease, who had to go to Sydney to a military hospital for treatment." "The Mayoress invested Lance-Corporal B. Smith and Private E A. Stokes with medals, and handed Mrs. Pease the medal for her son, Private T. Pease."|
|11 Oct 1917|
9 Nov 1917
|"A public welcome was accorded to Private T. Pease, on Tuesday evening. The function was held in the Coronation Hall, and was promoted by the Lambton Welcome Home and Send-off Committee."|
|28 Oct 1918|
27 Oct 1918
|"A meeting convened by Messrs. T. Pease and H. Burg was held yesterday to protest against the increased retailed prices of beer."|
|14 Jan 1920|
12 Jan 1920
|"A meeting of returned soldiers was held at Lambton on Monday night last, for the purpose of recognising the excellent work of the patriotic bodies of Lambton. Mr. T. Pease occupied the chair."|
|2 Mar 1920|
1 Mar 1920
|"A banquet and dance tendered by the returned soldiers of Lambton to the patriotic committees and other workers was held in the Coronation Hall. Private Pease occupied the chair, and said that the Diggers of Lambton for some time past had expressed their desire to show their appreciation for the good work done by the different patriotic bodies during their absence abroad."|