Lionel William Gibbs

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Lionel William Gibbs
Personal Information
Date of Birth 31 Dec 1893
Place of Birth Cannington, Western Australia
Death 13 May 1953
Place of Death Hollywood Repat Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 22 years, 6 months
Description 5'10" (1.78m) tall ; 153lbs
69.4 kg
; fair complexion ; brown eyes ; light brown hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Church of England
Address East Cannington, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr William Lacey Gibbs
Military Information
Reg Number 2156
Date of Enlistment 27 Jul 1915
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 28th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 1 Oct 1915 ‒ 27 Oct 1915
Ship Embarked On HMAT A20 Hororata
Date of Return 3 Sep 1919 ‒ 17 Oct 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A37 Barambah
Fate WIA 5 Aug 1916 Pozières
WIA 5 Nov 1916 The Maze
Two Field General Court Martials
Returned to Australia
Monument Canning Honour Roll
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Lionel was the oldest of four children to William Lacey Gibbs and Elizabeth Jane Spencer.

War Service

Entered camp on 27 Jul 1915 and on 16 Aug 1915 was allocated to the 4th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion, and travelled with them to Egypt aboard HMAT A20 Hororata, embarking in Fremantle on 1 Oct 1915, and disembarking at Port Tewfik, Egypt on 27 Oct 1915. On 19 Jan 1916 he was taken on strength by the 28th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir. On 2 Mar 1916 at Ferry Post on the Suez Canal he reported to hospital.

Lionel proceeded to France with the rest of the battalion from Alexandria on 16 Mar 1916 aboard HMAT A32 Themistocles, arriving in Marseilles on the 21st and disembarking on the 22 Mar 1916. In northern France on 29 Jun 1916 he received an accidental bayonet wound to his foot. Seen by the 23rd Field Ambulance he was sent to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station and sent on to the 8th Stationary Hospital in Wimereux the same day. Released to duty on 4 Jul 1916 he then reported sick and after a period of time in rear base depots he rejoined the battalion on 2 Aug 1916.

On 4 Aug 1916 the depleted 28th Battalion (they had taken a mauling in an earlier attack on Pozières) were again involved in attacking German positions near Pozières. German artillery gave them an extremely hot reception and on 5 Aug 1916 Lionel was seen by the 4th Field Ambulance and then the 44th Casualty Clearing Station suffering with shell shock. On 6 Aug 1916 he was admitted to the 10th General Hospital in Rouen where he was treated until 14 Aug 1916 when he was released to a Convalescent Depot. On 29 Aug 1916 he rejoined the 28th Battalion.

On 5 Nov 1916 the 28th Battalion were involved with an attack on "The Maze" in mud and rain, heavily bombarded by German artillery. During the attack Lionel was wounded for a second time, this time with a gunshot wound to his right testicle. Seen by the 5th Field Ambulance and the 36th Casualty Clearing Station he was placed on an Ambulance Train on 5 Nov 1916 for Rouen where he was admitted to the 3rd Stationary Hospital on 6 and 7 Nov 1916. On 8 Nov 1916 he boarded HMHS Lanfranc in Le Havre for England where he was admitted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital. On 23 Nov 1916 he was released to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital before being discharged to duty on 27 Nov 1916. At No. 4 Command Depot Lionel was charged with being AWOL from 3:00pm on 26 Dec 1916 till 11:00pm on 29 Dec 1916. Found guilty he was awarded 48 hours detention.

Lionel proceeded overseas to France on 2 Feb 1917 through Folkestone aboard HMT Princesse Clementine, and by 6 Feb 1917 he had rejoined his battalion. In May 1917 Lionel spent a couple of days being treated for illness, and from 13 - 24 May he attended the Divisional Bombing School. On 28 Aug 1917 he was granted leave to England, rejoining the battalion on 10 Sep 1917. On 1 Jul 1918 Lionel faced a Field General Court Martial, charged with Desertion. Found not guilty of desertion, but guilty of being AWOL from 5:00pm on 5 Jun 1918 until 8:00am on 9 Jun 1918, he was sentenced to 6 months detention with hard labour. On 12 Jul 1918 the sentence was suspended and on 23 Jul 1918 he rejoined the battalion.

On 26 Sep 1918 Lionel again faced a Field General Court Martial, charged with (1) AWOL from a fatigue party from 9.20am to 2.15pm on 29 Jul 1918, and (2) when under arrest, escaping on 14 Aug and remaining absent until 19 Sep 1918. Found guilty of both charges he was sentenced this time to 2 years imprisonment with hard labour, the time to be served concurrently with his previous sentence. On 25 Oct 1918 he was sent to the Base Prison, and then later transferred to 10th Military Prison before being transferred to England to undertake his sentence. On 19 Jun 1919 he disembarked at Folkestone and proceeded to Pentonville Prison where on 21 Jul 1919 his sentence was suspended, and he was released from prison for return to Australia. (the proceedings of both Court Martials are filed in the Attorney General's Department Nos 3322, and 3323). On 3 Sep 1919 Lionel embarked on HMAT A37 Barambah and arrived in Fremantle on 17 Oct 1919. Lionel was discharged by the 5th Military District on 2 Dec 1919.

Post War

On 8 Dec 1922 Lionel married Mercy Shelley in St George's Cathedral, Perth. Children were Thelma Joy Gibbs (1922- ) and Raymond Neil Gibbs (1924 - 2016).

During WW2 Lionel ironically served as a Sergeant (W237037) with the 11th Detention Barracks from 22 Feb 1940 until his death in 1943.

"GIBBS Sergeant LIONL WILLIAM, W237037 A.C.M.F., 11 Detention barracks, Australian Military Prisons and Detention Barracks Service. 13th May 1943. Age 52. Son of William Lacey Gibbs, and Ada Elizabeth Gibbs; husband of Mercy Gibbs of Victoria Park."[1]
  • Lionel's grave
  • Electoral Roll entries: 1925 at 848 Albany road, Victoria Park, tram employee; 1931 - 1937 at 49 Armagh street, Victoria Park, tram employee.


    For further information on this soldier, or for more information about the history and heritage of the City of Gosnells, please contact the Heritage Coordinator on 9391 6011

    1. UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921 and 1939-1947

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