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Crimea to World War I - The Lee Family

Introduction - The Lee Family

The Lee family is a rather unique addition to the Lutwyche Cemetery in that it did not fit into the usual classifications. While only one member is buried here another was a teacher at Chermside and a third lies in France.

It has a soldier from the British Army, RSM Henry Robert Lee while the rest of the family served in the Australian Army.

So to keep the family together they have one webpage.

A Veteran of the Crimean War and Abyssinian Expedition of 1868 but no Monument

The unmarked grave of RSM Lee is here marked by sheets of bark at his head and feet. It would be the same size as the grave in the foreground and parallel with it. It lies opposite the grave of Private Flood on the left and its head is in line with the Lugg family grave on the right.

Location of the Unmarked Grave of RSM Lee


Location RSM Lee's Grave
Location of RSM Lee's grave which is unmarked. This sketch is looking from north to south to coincide with the above photo.

Regimental Sergeant-major Henry Robert Lee lies in an unmarked grave in Lutwyche Cemetery. After a lot of measuring, photographing and website consultation I believe we have located the grave location.
The following article appeared in the Brisbane Courier 31-7-1919 p.11:
Regimental Sergeant-major Henry Robert Lee, late of the Royal Army Medical Corps (Imperial), died at Farrington House, Alderley, yesterday. The deceased was apparently in the best of health last Sunday, but during the night he was smitten by a paralytic stroke, which rendered him unconscious. He never regained consciousness, and passed away early yesterday morning. The deceased, who was in his 85th year, joined the British Army in 1855, leaving it in 1876, and during this period he served in the Crimean War and in the Abyssinian Campaign. With his wife Emily and younger son, he arrived in Queensland in 1885. His wife predeceased him in 1902. He is survived by three children, Mr. J. E. Lee (Toowoomba), Mrs. M. J. Avenell (Sydney), and Mr. H. W. Lee (Alderley, late of St. Helen's, Maryborough). The interment will take place at the Lutwyche cemetery, the cortege leaving Farrington House, Alderley, at 10 a.m. to-day
There were three children survived Lee so why was no marker erected?

Tiaro Encampment in 1892


Lee Lt Colonel at Tairo Encampment - no date
Since the photo is undated it does not indicate when the particular Encampment was held.It must have been after Harry Lee was promoted to Lt. Colonel.

Encampments were held at various times, probably annually, as part of the training of the Colonial Armed Forces.The 1892 Encampment took place at Easter in various places such as Fort Lytton, Toowoomba and Tiaro. The latter being a small town on the Mary River in Queensland, Australia. The town is situated on the Bruce Highway 27 kilometres (17 mi) south of Maryborough.

This was probably not the Encampment at which the accompanying photo was taken as he began his training in 1885; only seven years to rise to Lt. Colonel!

The following excerpt is from the Brisbane Courier of Friday 15 April 1892 p. 5 quoting the Maryborough Chronicle of the previous day.

The Wide Bay and Burnett Regiment go into camp at Tiaro to-morrow (says the Maryborough Chronicle of yesterday) for a period of four days, instead of the usual annual Easter encampment at Lytton, which was abandoned this year on account of the scarcity of funds in the Treasury. It is estimated that the number of men under canvas will be from 600 to 650. Preparations are already in progress, and Captain Purser with a fatigue party proceeds to the seat of operations this morning to get the preparatory work done for the reception of the troop3 to-morrow. The local Land Force, under the command of Captain Harrap, and the Naval Brigade, under the command of Lieutenant Pretty of Brisbane, will leave by the 7.15 ordinary train to-morrow morning. The Mounted Infantry will go to camp by road. The Gympie mounted corps will leave by special train at 7 a.m. on Friday, and the dismounted corps, Colonel Ferguson in command, will leave their town by the 7.15 a.m. ordinary train. The Bundaberg, Howard, and Horton corps will travel to Maryborough by ordinary trains, arriving here at 10 a.m., and will proceed thence by special train to camp.

Lee Family Soldiers


Lee Military Group P5 540.jpg
The original caption in the Queenslander of 17th October 1914 p. 23: A FAMILY OF FIGHTING QUEENSLANDERS. Sergent-Major Lee, A.S.C. (wearing Crimean and Abyssinian medals), his son L'eut.- Colonel H. W. Lee (in command of the Queensland Infantry in the Expeditionary Force), his grandson, Captain W. Lee (Transport Officer) and his great-grandson, Corporal Clive Lee (Maryborough Grammar School Cadets).

The Great War changed the lives of many families. Harry senior left teaching, Harry junior left his legal training to become soldiers in the AIF.

The Grandson Clive Lee would have been training in the School Cadets when the photo was taken.

Lt Colonel H W Lee


Lee Lt. Col. Harry Lee
Lt. Col. Harry William Lee. Photo probably taken some time before 1914.

Harry William Lee was born in London in 1868 and arrived in Australia with his parents in 1885 aged about 17. He commenced his training in the Queensland Volunteers in the same year and served as Adjutant in the Wide Bay Regiment. When the Great War broke out he served in the early AMF.

He became a teacher in the Queensland system and remained teaching for the rest of his life except for his service in the Great War. He would have been involved in training school cadets. .

He married Susan Heilbron in 1891 and they had six children. When Australia was raising an army for the Great War Harry was appointed commander of the Queensland 9th Battalion AIF. His son Harry was appointed a Captain in the same unit.

Colonel Lee landed at Gallipoli with the 9th and a few days later on the 27th April 1915 sprained an ankle and fractured a bone. This caused his hospitalisation till he returned to duty on 19th July. But all was not well and two days later he succumbed to diarrhoea and was again sent to hospitals in Malta and London until his appointment was terminated on 18th April 1916.

He returned to Australia and resumed teaching coming to Chermside in 1919 where he was head teacher till 1926. While there the family lived in Farrington House which they owned.

His father Henry Robert Lee was living at Farrington House, Alderley when he died in 1919 and was buried in Lutwyche Cemetery.

The family next went to Babinda for three years when Harry was transferred and finally settled in Toowoomba where Harry was Head Teacher at Newtown State School. He died in November 1932 at the age of 64 years and he is buried in Toowoomba.

Obituary of Major H W Lee Jr.


Lee Captain Harry Junior
When this photo was taken Harry Jr. would have been a Captain. He was promoted to Major during the war.

Major H.W. Lee was killed in action in France on March 21 1917. The late Major Lee left Brisbane in September, 1914, with the famous 9th Battalion, of which his father was in command, and served in Gallipoli and in Egypt and afterwards in France.

He was 25 years of age, and at the time of enlistment was an articled clerk, with the firm of Corser, Sheldon and Harrington, Maryborough. He was a prominent sportsman. He had always taken a great interest in military work, and after joining the Wide Bay Regiment as a private he served some time as adjutant. (The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864-1933)Thursday 5 April 1917 Page 7)

Major Harry Lee commenced his training in the 'Kitchener" AMF.

Farrington House,Alderley


Lee Farrington House
Farrington House, Alderley - In one of these rooms RSM Lee experienced his fatal stroke. (Photo courtesy of Q'ld. Gov. Dept. of Environment and Resource Management)

Recent photo of house in colour -Right side (P. No. 28)
Henry Lee was living at Farrington House, Alderley when he died in 1919.

When Harry Sr. went to teach in Babinda and later Toowoomba the family moved and Farrington House was probably sold.

Judging from the many advertisements in the Brisbane Courier it was used as a 'superior board & residence' venue.

Advertisements appeared in the Brisbane Courier over many years for this prominent landmark and heritage listed building which was built in 1882. The two below are typical:

Brisbane Courier Thursday 27/5/1915 p.1
FARRINGTON House, Alderley, superior private board and residence, or apartments, piano, balcony rooms, beautiful high position,

Brisbane Courier Friday 28-2-1930 p.26
5 Reward for Information leading to arrest and conviction of any one trespassing or damaging "Farrington House." Alderley. S. Thompson, owner, T. & G. Building.

(Editor: Five pounds in 1930 would have been the equivalent of about $350 in 2011)

 Farrington House - Heritage Listed - Dept. of Environment and Resource Management Q'ld. - Website has the Heritage citation for Farrington House with a full description and history.

Lee Farrington House 400
Farrington House is a heritage-listed detached house at 39 David Street, Alderley, Queensland, Australia. It was built c. 1882. It is also known as Clifford House. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992. Wikipedia

Google Embedded Aerial Map Centred on Farrington House