Tag Archives: Louis Henry Attenborough



Per his military service record (regimental no. 4728), Louis Henry Attenborough was born at Stratton Audley, Oxford, [England]. He gave his age as 44 years and 6 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as mechanic. His description on his certificate of medical examination was height 5 feet 8 inches tall, weight 10 stone 10 lbs., with a fresh complexion, grey eyes, and hair  ‘going grey’. His religious denomination was ‘Free Thinker’. He claimed that he had no previous military service. His  ‘Joined on’ date was recorded as 27th October 1915.

Louis Attenborough was named in an article titled ‘Blayney recruits’ in The Leader as one of six men who have joined ‘as a result of the visit of the Coo-ees to Blayney’.[1] The Coo-ees had held a recruiting meeting and stayed overnight at Blayney on 26th October 1915.

He was attested by Captain Eade at Bathampton on 27th October 1915, where the Coo-ees stayed that evening, after leaving Blayney that morning.

After the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

He did not complete his medical examination until 13th November 1915, at Liverpool Camp.

On his embarkation roll his name was recorded as ‘Lewis Henry Attenborough’, and his address at time of enrolment was Blayney, N.S.W. His next of kin was listed as his brother, A. W. [Arthur] Attenborough, Alagallah, Bowral Street, Kensington, N.S.W. His religion was recorded on this document as Church of England.

On 8th March 1916 Private Attenborough, along with many of the other Coo-ees, departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, and arrived in Egypt on the 11th April 1916.

On 16th April 1916 Private Attenborough, along with some of the other Coo-ees, was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir.

On 4th June 1916 Private Attenborough left Alexandria aboard the Transport Scotian, bound for France. He arrived at Marseilles on 11th June 1916.

Private Attenborough served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion in France for the next six months, until on 9th December 1916, when he was sent to the 5th Australian Field Ambulance sick with Influenza. On 10th December 1916 he was moved back to the 38th Casualty Clearing Station.  On 11th December 1916 he was placed aboard the 5th Ambulance Train, for transfer to the 9th General Hospital at Rouen, France.

On 24th December 1916 he was placed aboard the Hospital Ship Dunluce Castle at Le Harve, France, for evacuation to England, with Debility. Later that day he was admitted to the Cambridge Hospital at Aldershot, England.

On 18th January 1917 Private Attenborough was granted leave, to report to the No. 1 Command Depot at Pernham Downs, England, on the 2nd of February 1917.

On 7th February 1917 Private Attenborough went before a Medical Board, where he was found to have Deafness, Senility and Rheumatism, and to be overage – he was recorded as being “58” years of age at his ‘last birthday’ on a Medical Report on an Invalid form in his service record. [If this stated age was actually correct, this may have made him the oldest Coo-ee to go overseas on active service]. Stated on the Medical Report on an Invalid dated 7th February 1917 in his service record was: ‘Has been somewhat deaf for years but in August while passing one of our own guns was deafened by its firing’.

On 12th February 1917 he was transferred to the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 6th April he marched out from No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth for return to Australia.

On 4th May 1917 Private Attenborough departed England from Plymouth aboard the H.T. Themistocles for discharge. (Also being sent home on the same ship were Coo-ees James Birrell Dawson, Walter James Goodlet, and James McKeown).

Private Attenborough arrived in Sydney on 5th July 1917.

He was discharged medically unfit on 23rd August 1917.


Note: A letter in his service record dated 8th April 1921 shows that Louis Henry Attenborough had returned to England by this date, as it reported he was at that time residing at Fern Cottage, 90 Bath Road, Heston-Hounslow, Middlesex.

[1] ‘Blayney Recruits’, Leader , 29 October, 1915, p. 8. Retrieved December 17, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article117842821