Thursday, 24 April 2014


Lewis Gordon Blackmore was the 7th Child of Edward Gordon Blackmore and Eleanora Elizabeth Blackmore (Nee Farr) Born Adelaide SA 21st May 1886 - Killed in action 23rd July, 1916 at Pozieres, France

From the excerpts below all young men have hopes and dreams that in this instance were cut short but have given us the freedom do live our own lives without much thought for the alternative

Lewis’ letters to brother John Coleridge Blackmore (my Grandfather)

June 24thAs the Russians are doing so well and the Hun appear to have failed at Verdun I may be coming home earlier than I thought, of course not this year, and I can assure you I hope to return to the life on the land. We have had a fair amount of wet weather of late; it is wonderful how we escape colds. I really think we are getting immune to the ills of the flesh….”

June 29th “How is land selling now? I have great ideas of sneaking out near the Warrumbungle Mts and buying a place if we can raise the wind….”

July 17th “Well old sport, we shall be busy now so letters may be a bit irregular, but shall drop you a line at every opportunity.”

Then in a letter from Eric Shelly –

“We moved up on the village of Pozieres on the night of July 19th and it was well into the morning of the 20th by the time we had taken over from the Tommies. Lew’s battalion were in the front. All that day, the next and the next, we lay quiet letting the artillery do its work. The attack was timed for 12.30am on the night of the 22nd-23rd July. Two minutes prior to that time we started a violent artillery bombardment, then over our men went to the German first line and took it. For 30 minutes there raged another artillery bombardment our guns having lifted their range to the German 2nd line, then a signal and over we went again. As close as I can gather this is where poor old Lew went down. The boy knew no pain thank God, a machine gun bullet got him in the forehead and he died instantly. I saw him a few hours previously and he went into it laughing and joking and full of hope and the surety he was coming out as well as he went in”

From Informant Cadet Pte Thos. 3261

Lewis Gordon Blackmore buried approx location at junction of Pozieres Trench and OG1
“On Sunday, 23rd July I saw above-named killed, struck by a machine gun bullet. We were attacking Pozieres about 1 am. I saw that Blackmore was dead. An Australian, short, thick-set, dark, clean shaven, about twenty three”

From Service Records:-

“Buried just to the right of the right communication trench leading to Old German No 1 Trench near Pozieres.”

“(No Grave No, No cemetery and no clergyman. He was buried in the heat of the action)”


An Account of the Pozierers Battle of 23rd-24th July 1916

During the night of Saturday-Sunday, July 22nd-23rd, the troops took up their positions for the attack on the village. The attack was to be made upon the eastern and southern faces of the position by Australian troops and English Territorials. The English were to advance from the direction of Ovillers Hill and Mash Valley, upon the cemetery and that straggling end or outlier of the village which stretched out towards Thiepval. Their right was to rest upon the Albert-Bapaume Road, their left on the strong, newly converted enemy lines on Ovillers Hill.

The Australian left was to touch the English right at the road, to push up, in the main direction of the road, from Suicide Corner and Contalmaison, by way of the spur, the Quarry Road, and Hospital Road, so as to close in on the village from the southeast.

The Australian right, forming up from about Contalmaison Villa, outside Little Bazentin Wood, to O.G. 1, with their faces to the west, were to charge across the plateau, taking whatever trenches there might be in their path, right into the village, through the wood or copse, and across the gardens to the houses. It was known that the garrison of Pozières had been relieved by a fresh division, and that, like other enemy reliefs, this division had brought in plenty of food and drink.

The attack had been prepared by some days of shelling over the whole area. Not much of the village was standing, though one observer speaks of some parts of red-tiled roofs near the cemetery. The smash and ruin were general, but the place was not obliterated, nor were all the trees razed. The weather had cleared. It was hot, dry, dusty weather, with much haze and stillness in the air.

At midnight on the 22nd-23rd of July the attack was timed to begin. It was the first big fight in which the Australians had been engaged since the Battle of Gallipoli, almost a year before. Then they had fallen in in the night for an attack in the dark, which won only glory and regret. This time the battle was to be one of the hardest of the war, and there was to be glory for all and regret for very many, and the prize was to be the key to the ridge of Bapaume beyond the skyline, with possible victory and peace.

At midnight, when the men had reached their starting-places, the attack began, and a great wave of Australian infantry went across the plateau towards the east of the village. A part of this wave attacked the enemy who were still holding out in O.G. 1. The rest crossed the plateau, got into one enemy line, which was lightly held or held only by dead men, took it, got into another (really the sunken track of the light railway) which was held more strongly, took that, and so, by successive rushes, and by countless acts of dash and daring, trying (as it happened) to find objectives which our guns had utterly destroyed, they reached the outskirts of the place, across a wreck of a part of the wood. They made a line from about the southern end of the village to their starting-place near Bazentin Wood.

When the daylight came on that Sunday morning, the Australians were in the village, on the eastern side of the road with the road as their front. Beyond the road they had to their front the tumbled bricks of the main part of the village. To their right, they had a markless wilderness of plateau tilting very slightly upwards to the crest on which the O.G. lines ran.

Australians who were there have given accounts of the fighting which won them this position, but, as usually happens in a night attack, those who were there saw little. It seems to be agreed that the second enemy trench was more strongly held than the outer line, and that the right of the attack, which came under direct enfilading fire from the O.Gs., had the hardest task. Some have said that the eastern outskirts of the village were lightly held by the enemy, and that not more than 200 enemy dead were found in that part of the field after the charge, which is very likely, for it was the enemy's custom to hold an advanced post with a few men and many machine guns.

Pozieres before and after artillery bombardment


  1. Lewis was wounded on 14th July 1915 at Gallipoli and was invalided to England Via Malta.

    Most of the men recruited into the Australian Imperial Force at the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 were sent to Egypt to meet the threat which the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) posed to British interests in the Middle East and to the Suez Canal. After four and a half months of training near Cairo, the Australians departed by ship for the Gallipoli peninsula, together with troops from New Zealand, Britain, and France. The aim of this deployment was to assist a British naval operation which aimed to force the Dardanelles Strait and capture the Turkish capital, Constantinople.
    The Australians landed at what became known as ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, and they established a tenuous foothold on the steep slopes above the beach. During the early days of the campaign, the allies tried to break through the Turkish lines and the Turks tried to drive the allied troops off the peninsula. Concerted but unsuccessful allied attempts to break through in August included the Australian attacks at Lone Pine and the Nek. All attempts ended in failure for both sides, and the ensuing stalemate continued for the remainder of 1915.
    The most successful operation of the campaign was the evacuation of the troops on 19–20 December under cover of a comprehensive deception operation. As a result, the Turks were unable to inflict more than a very few casualties on the retreating forces. The whole Gallipoli operation, however, cost 26,111 Australian casualties, including 8,141 deaths. Despite this, it has been said that Gallipoli had no influence on the course of the war.
    On the 14th July a cable from Roy Morell arrived at “Lansdowne” saying that “Loo was wounded in the arm”.

    July 21st from Malta “Was out with Roy (Morell) and 20 men putting out a new trench about 400 yards in front of our position….a stray bullet came down from our left and got me. It went in the fleshy part of forearm and came out above the wrist breaking the bone. It did not hurt much but bled a lot…after the Dr had dressed it…. (they) saw me off on the boat” (Lewis had a fracture of the bone in the right arm)

    July 25th “The Dr told me I am to go to England. It will be about 10 weeks before I get back to the front so I hope the Turks are settled by then.”

  2. Greg you wrote: "The most successful operation of the campaign was the evacuation of the troops on 19–20 December under cover of a comprehensive deception operation."

    For Anzac day last year in a post called, Gallipoli Evacuation, I published a poem by Timoshenko Aslanides called, John Monash Farewells Gallipoli

  3. Greg, you are a truly amazing historian. very poignant, gripping stuff.
    Best regards

  4. Yes Al, I have been enjoying Greg's posts over on a facebook page called, Tales from the Top Rail. I hope we continue to see them published here as well.

    Another writer I have long enjoyed often with themes based on what forged the Australian character had this article published for this Anzac Day - Aussie Anzac Day reflection

    "The Australian soldier in the main did not glory in the war. His view was, “It’s a dirty job. Some mug has to do it, so let’s get into it and clear out as soon as we can.”
    Within that setting, other more personable aspects came sharply into focus. Australian humour, art, and attachment to a mate seemed to intensify where life itself was in question. The cheeky Aussie grin is a constant companion to the black experience of war. They laughed at their generals, they laughed at themselves and they laughed at the enemy, as if to shrink the whole terrifying experience to a manageable size.
    Laughing at disaster was a trait that had helped them survive in the bush back home – a trait well illustrated by an event in the desert when an Aussie signalman was semaphoring to his artillery, the position of the German tanks. All the time, his mates nervously watched him keep up his courageous but important communication, while desperate German mortars tried to knock him off. On one occasion there was a great explosion and a cloud of dust which appeared, through the glasses, to be a direct hit. His mates dropped their jaws in horror until he scrambled up again, brushed the dirt from his face, grinned and turned back to the Germans to signal with the same flag, the single word, “Missed.”"

    1. That brave and typically cheeky Aussie signalman probably became a cheer squad leader for Collingwood. They love banners like that.
      Cheers al
      PS I am a 40 year, rusted on Hawthorn member, just for the record ;-)


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