Enlistment Address

Gilgandra, NSW

Service Number



4th Battalion


Commemorated Anglican Church


KIA 18.9.1918



Private George Lemon 7779, enlisted three times from June 1915 but was in action on the battlefields of France for only three weeks before he was killed in action on September 18, 1918, just two months before the war ended.

George’s service records state he was the son of Frederick and Ellen Lemon or Ballard of Coonabarabran NSW. He was born on August 8, 1896 and had an older brother, Frederick. His grandmother, Jane Lemon raised George from a baby when his mother died and his father disappeared.

George’s first attempt to enlist was on June 23, 1915 and so began Georges’ chequered military career.

He was assigned to 9/2nd Battalion after attestation at Liverpool on June 30, 1915. However his grandmother, Mary Jane Lemon requested his discharge because his brother Frederick Lemon had left for overseas and she believed George to be under age.

At his second enlistment on November 11, 1915, he was a pastry cook and still lived with his grandmother in Myrtle St Gilgandra, NSW. After attestation at Liverpool he was assigned to the 7th Light Horse and discharged ‘medically unfit, not due to misconduct’ on May 13, 1916.

During his 167 eventful days in the Light Horse, he was charged with being Absent without Leave from February 11-30, 1916 and for this he was fined and confined to barracks for 14 days. He was AWL again For 10 days in May 1916 and he was charged with breaking camp and AWL. This time he was fined £1.0.0 and confined to barracks for 7 days. George also spent about nine weeks of this time on Milsons Island in hospital. Interestingly, after his discharge on May 13, 1916, George was charged with being absent from parade for 3 days and assisting a prisoner to escape the custody of a military policeman. He was forfeited 3 days’ pay of 15/-, fined £1.0.0. When discharged he was owed 13 days’ pay of £3.5.0, less £2.0.0 fines.

The medical examinations of George were similar at all three enlistments.5’8” tall, 138lbs (68kgs), fresh complexion, blue eyes with 6/6 (perfect) vision in both eyes and dark hair. His distinguishing marks were the tattoos on his arms; ‘Gladys’, the initial ‘G L’, a scroll and a heart. He also had a scar on his right temple.

His third and final enlistment was in November 1917, when he was taken on at Liverpool NSW in January 1917 and embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A71 ‘Nestor’ on February 28, 1918 with the 4th Battalion 26th reinforcement. George had the flu for two days on the ship.

They disembarked at Liverpool, England and went to the 12th Training Battalion at Sutton Veny on the Salisbury Plains. On June 5, 1918 George was transferred to the 45th Battalion at Codford, England. The next day he was in hospital with the mumps for two months.

From July 16, 1918 to August 12, 1918, George was Absent Without Leave twice for a total of 12 days. He gave himself up the first time but was apprehended after 9 days by the civil police the second time. In total he forfeited 23 days’ pay.

George left England from Folkestone to Havre, France to join the 45th Battalion on August 27, 1918. He was one of 39 men, of which 25 were new reinforcements.

A note to all companies from the Lieutenant Adjutant of the 45th Battalion stated ‘our attitude must be aggressive, the Hun must be given no peace’.

George was killed in action on September 18, 1918 in his first experience on the battlefield. This was the 45th Battalions last major battle around around the Le Verguier area to seize the ‘outpost line’ that guarded the approaches to the Germans’ main defences. George is buried at Bellicourt British Cemetery (Plot IV, Row D, Grave 3) in France.

Mary Jane Lemon died before his medals could be claimed. The army wouldn’t recognise his brother, Frederick Ballards’ claim because of the difference in the name, so his cousin, George Lemon of Gulargambone received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. When George wrote to the army requesting the medal, he promised to look after them, which he did for many years. They were in the possession of Jean Stockings, and were on display in the Gilgandra Services Club. Recently they were passed on to a direct descendent.

George is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour on Panel 140. He is on the Gilgandra Honor Roll at the Visitors Centre and the Gulargambone and Gilgandra War Memorial. The Gilgandra St Ambrose Anglican Church has a chair with a memorial plate for George, Pte R Jackson 899 and Pte A Ewin 1600.

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