PRIVATE STANLEY ARTHUR JAMES LAMBERT
AUSTRALIAN MACHINE GUN CORPS
17TH FEBRUARY 1918 AGE 19
BURIED: SPOILBANK CEMETERY, YPRES, LEBANON
The brothers Stanley and Roy Lambert both had the same inscription. Stanley was killed on 17 February 1918, having only joined his unit in France a month earlier. Roy, who was 21, was killed on 11 July 1918 having been on active service since February 1916.
Soldiers' photographs were often framed in elaborate patriotic frames - especially if they had been killed - and one such frame features 'He heard the call and answered' in a banner across the top of the frame, along with the Australian flag and a vase of foliage that I can't quite make out but is probably made up of oak, laurel and wattle.
The second line of the inscription comes from Laurence Binyon's famous poem, For the Fallen, interestingly, from a verse that is now usually omitted:
They fought, they were terrible, nought could tame them,
Hunger, nor legions, nor shattering cannonade.
They laughed, they sang their melodies of England,
They fell open-eyed and unafraid.
The very next verse begins: 'They shall not grow old, as we that are left grown old'.
The Lambert brothers were both born in Australia. Roy was a poultry farmer when he enlisted in September 1915, and Stanley, who enlisted in November 1916, was an electrician. Stanley spent most of 1917 in England before joining his unit, the 24th Coy Australian Machine Gun Corps, on 26 January 1918.
According to a witness to the Australian Red Cross, Lambert was killed at a place called Sherwood Dump on Hill 60:
"He had been caught by a shell, pieces of which hit him about the head and side. He was badly hit and I think death must have been instantaneous."
Roy Lambert was similarly a casualty of shell fire. Sergeant Lewis reported to the Red Cross:
"On July 11th at night time, he was in charge of a ration party and passing a dangerous gully, was, I understand, killed instantly, owing to heavy enemy barrage; there was no wound and death was from concussion. I did not see the body but was told by C/S/M A King 82, of A Co. that he had seen it and there was no mark whatever on it."
Roy Lambert had done well in the army and was promoted to sergeant in December 1917. However, there is a curious incident on his record sheet, which relates that, whilst at Codford Camp, a large ANZAC training and transfer camp, he was seriously reprimanded and docked three days pay for being absent without leave from midnight on 19 February 1918 to 3 pm on the 22nd. What day had his brother been killed? The 17 February. It sounds to me as though Roy went on a 'blinder'. Interestingly, the reprimand had no effect on his rank.