The Lavender Brothers

Among the very first scouts in Australia were the three oldest sons of George and Esther Lavender, Tasman, Cyril and Roy. Roger Thomas of Statford-upon-Avon in the UK has published a comprehensive family tree for his family on the web and you can see details of Lavender family here.

The August 1976 issue of the group’s newsletter, the “Toongabbie Times” records among many other things that in 1908 “three brothers Cyril, Tasman and Roy Lavender under the guidance of a university graduate, later to become a successful journalist, (Sir) Errol Knox held the fist troop meeting in a barn behind Errol’s parents’ house.”

Just a few year after first group meeting the three Lavender brothers were to join the 1st AIF (as did Errol Knox) and fight in Gallipoli and on the Western Front. Remarkably all three brothers survived the war and returned home to Australia .

Tasman William Lavender (born 1894) joined up on 19th April 1915 aged 21 years 4 months. When he enlisted Tasman who was the only one of the brothers to have been born in Sydney gave his occupation as “station hand” and his address as “Wentworthville”. After training he landed in Gallipoli in August 1915. He would have been anongst the last of the Anzacs to leave this battlefield as he did not arrive back in Egypt until the 28th December 1915. By March 1916 he was on his way to France to fight on the Western Front. However, he wasn’t in the trenches all the time as in September 1916 he was confined to barracks for a week for the crime of drinking in a bar during prohibited hours and failing to wear his identiy discs.  In November 1916 he was shot in the stomach and evacuated to hospital in England. He was lucky to survive such a wound as in the days before antibiotics and in the filty conditions of the battlefield infection was hard to avoid. But survive he did returning to France in August 1917 where he attended various training courses on topics such as “musketry”, “gas precautions” and “santitation”.  In between these periods he is recorded as having “rejoined battalion” which probably means he was back in the thick of fighting.  In March 1918 he promoted to Lance Corporal. There is  a strange entry in his record where it is state that he is in a “Safe Custody Compound” for three weeks in September 1918 and apparently tried by a court martial  before being found not guilty and rejoining his battalion once again. He returned to Australia in May 1919 and was demobilised in two months later. Tasman Lavender lived on until at least his seventies when he was living in Gordon in the northern suburbs of Sydney.

Cyril George Shortus Lavender (born 1895) joined up on 29th August 1915 aged 19 years 11 months.I n his enlistment papers, Cyril described himself as a “poultry farmer” living with his father at “Cosy Nook”, Wentworthville. He left Australia  in November 1915 arriving in Egypt in mid December. Whist training as an infantry man in Egypt he suffered the dire penalty of forfeiting two days pay for being “absent from parade” but was a smart enough soldier to be promoted to Lance Corporal and then Corporal in the space of a few days in April 1916. By June 1916 he was in the front lines in France as part of a “Light Trench Mortar Battery” lobbing bombs with a Stokes 3 inch mortar at the enemy accross “no mans land” who doubtless would not have taken too kindly to the attention and retaliated. In September 1916 he was wounded in action and evacuated to a hospital in England. He rejoined his unit in France in June 1917 but he seems to have been determined to have a good time in France so much so that after leave in Paris he was hospitalised for extended periods. Nothwithstanding this he was promoted sergeant in May 1918. In October he contracted influenza becoming perhaps one of the first to contract the “Spanish flu” epidemic that was to sweep the world in the next couple of years taking millions of lives.  Cyril survived the illness but it left its  mark on him as he was given an early repatriation to Australia  after the Armistice and discharge form the army in April 1919 because of the chronic muscle pain he suffered as a consequence.

Roy Augustus Lavender (born 1896) joined up on 17th September 1914 aged 17 years 9 months.

Do you have any information on the Lavender brothers? If so 1st Toongabbie Scout Group would be delighted to hear from you.

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