Born: 15 May 1893

Died: 5 November 1916

Henry Percival Lever was killed during an attack on 5 November 1916 by the 7th Brigade on an area known as Bayonet Trench near Gueudecourt, France.  The attack was unsuccessful due to strong German resistance.  This action occurred during the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme.

On that day, the 27th Battalion suffered heavy casualties with 77 killed, 141 wounded and 75 missing.  Henry Percival Lever was among the missing.  His body was not recovered until March 1917.

Percy's obituary differs from many others as it provides an intimate and forceful picture of the man and the effects of his loss on his family. It was probably written by his uncle, Walter Bennett, owner and editor of the Dungog Chronicle.

“Killed in Action.

Sergeant H. P. Lever, son of Mrs H. A. Lever, Stirling, Boyle Street, Mosman, has been reported killed in action. He was previously reported missing in the engagement on November 5th, when many of our Australians fell. Sgt. Lever's O.C., Colonel Paton, being wounded on the same day. The late soldier was one of the earliest to enlist, leaving Australia in the first Light Horse Field Ambulance about the end of February, 1915. He was in camp some months prior to his departure on that date. On Gallipoli as a stretcher bearer he had some exciting experiences and sent home many photos and letters wonderfully illustrative of the life there. After the evacuation of Gallipoli he said he intended joining the infantry as there was no more danger there than with the stretcher-bearers. He was among the first to get to France, and was there as a sergeant. Having spent his boyhood in England, where he was educated, he was delighted to be back in the Old Country, looking up old friends and relatives, and wearing the Australian uniform. Percy liked military life and stuck to it well. In one of his letters he stated that he was offered a soft job well behind the lines, on account of the long period of active service that he had seen. However, he said he did not like to take it as it meant leaving some pals to whom he was deeply attached. As he was reported missing on November 5th and only just now reported killed in action, the family and relatives had been held in great suspense. The late soldier was the only son and there are five daughters in the family. His father, Captain H. A. Lever, died suddenly some five years ago in England. His loss is a very sad one and we trust that good fortune will attend his sorrowing mother and sisters.

The late Sgt. Lever was well known in Taree and Manilla, where he was stationed in the Commercial Bank, and also at Dungog. He is a nephew of Mr and Mrs W. Bennett, of Dungog.”

Dungog Chronicle: Durham and Gloucester Advertiser, 6 April 1917.  [JSB]

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