Written by Garry Snowden - Avenue of Honour / Arch of Victory President
I am sure it is well understood by the residents of Lucas that the suburb’s name was selected to recognise and remember the significant role played by the Lucas Clothing Company and its employees, the Lucas Girls, in the establishment of our Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour. What might not be so well known is that four soldiers by the name of Lucas are commemorated in the Avenue.
Two of those were brothers, Charles and Henry. Both were Ballarat born and were only six and four years of age when they lost their father, Edward, in a mining accident at Daylesford in 1894. It seems their mother, Fanny, was unable to care for them adequately and they were placed in the Ballarat Orphanage for a number of years. Charles Lucas was a 26 year old blacksmith when he enlisted in September 1914. In December he embarked aboard the Themistocles, and after some further training in Egypt, he took part in the historic Gallipoli landing on April 25th 1915 as a member of the 8th Infantry Battalion. Less then two weeks later, on May 8th, he was killed in action near Krithia, south of Anzac Cove. His body was never recovered and he is remembered on the Helles Memorial on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula. He is also remembered at tree no. 284 in our Avenue.
Henry Lucas enlisted on October 5th 1914, just a couple of weeks after Charles. Henry, assigned to the 6th Infantry Battalion, actually embarked before Charles for the voyage to Egypt. While in Egypt Henry was diagnosed with a serious ear infection which caused deafness in both ears. His treatment made little difference and he was assessed as unfit for active service. He was returned to Australia, disembarking in Melbourne in early April before being discharged as medically unfit on April 22nd 1915, just three days before brother Charles landed at Gallipoli. Henry’s service, as short as it was, is remembered at tree no. 561, just where Eleanor Drive meets the Avenue.
Horace Stanley Lucas had attended the Pleasant Street State School and was a 20 year old driver when he enlisted in July 1915. Assigned initially to the 7th Infantry Battalion he embarked in November and sailed to Egypt. With units returning from Gallipoli, the Australian Imperial Force underwent a major reorganisation and Horace was transferred to the 59th Infantry Battalion with whom he travelled to France in June 1916. On July 19th 1916 his unit took part in the tragic charge at Fromelles, and Horace was subsequently reported as ‘missing in action’.
It was not until 12 months later that a Court of Enquiry determined that he had been killed in action during the charge. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Australian Memorial at the VC Corner Cemetery in France and at tree no. 937 in the Avenue.
The fourth Lucas in our Avenue is James Lucas. He was born in Creswick but was a 21 year old labourer in Ballarat when he enlisted in May 1915. He embarked in August aboard the Anchises and reached Gallipoli in late October to serve with the 6th Infantry Battalion through the final weeks of that campaign. He was transferred to the 15th Artillery Brigade for service in France, which he reached in June 1916. He contributed to the legend of the larrikin Anzacs by being charged on different occasions with being absent from parade, drunkenness and creating a disturbance. He also saw action in the trenches and suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder in October 1917. He recovered and came through the war without further injury. Prior to his return to Australia he was married in England in January 1919. His service is remembered at Avenue tree no. 705.
For more information on the Soldiers & Nurses of the Avenue of Honour please visit honouringouranzacs.com.au