LIEUTENANT FREDERICK GEORGE LEWIS
1ST SEPTEMBER 1918 AGE 32
BURIED: HEM FARM MILITARY CEMETERY, HEM-MONACU, FRANCE
The paternal relationship officers had with their men has often been commented on and here it is confirmed by one officer's mother. Of course an officer was concerned that his men had the correct equipment, were on time for parades and duties and remained fit, but there was more to it than that. Lieutenant Ewart Alan Mackintosh expressed it most powerfully in his poem, In Memoriam, written in 1916. This is verse 5:
Oh, never will I forget you,
My men that trusted me,
More my sons than your fathers',
For they could only see
The little helpless babies
And the young men in their pride.
They could not see you dying,
And hold you while you died.
Mackintosh was 23 when he wrote the poem - he was killed the following year. Lewis was nearly ten years older.
The second part of Lewis's inscription references Psalm 37, which is much concerned with the just deserts of the virtuous and the wicked man. The inscription comes from verses 37/8:
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
Frederick Lewis's mother not only chose his inscription but also filled in the form for the Roll of Honour of Australia, making an unusually thorough job of it. Beside the request for 'Unit and number if known' she has replied, 'In Command D Company, 42 Battalion, 3rd Australian Division'. And asked for where he was killed she has put, 'Peronne Sector, N.E. Mont St Quentin, Near Clery sur Somme'. She also tells us that he was 'a valued officer - staff - of the Bank of New South Wales, Brisbane Branch' and that he had been a scholarship boy at Brisbane Boys Grammar School.
Lewis was killed in action on the 1 September 1918 in the Australian attack on Peronne.