Pte
Joseph Frederick Lapworth

Information about birth

Year of birth:
1894
Place of birth:
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

General information

last known residence:
South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Profession:
Clerk
Religion:
Church of England

Army information

Country:
Australia
Force:
Australian Imperial Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
2199A
Enlistment date:
16/02/1916
Enlistment place:
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Units:
 —  Australian Infantry, 49th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
26/09/1917
Place of death:
Remus Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
23

Cemetery

Bedford House Cemetery
Plot: III
Row: A
Grave: 8

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

My story

Joseph Frederick Lapworth, a former clerk, was born in May 1894 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He was the son of Sarah Lapworth. He served in the Citizen Military Forces (9th Infantry). On February 16, 1916 he enlisted in Brisbane and he embarked from Brisbane on board HMAT A42 Boorara on August 16, 1916, with the 4th reinforcement of the 49th Battalion, part of the 13th Australian Brigade of the 4th Australian Division.

The 4th Australian Division participated in the Battle of Polygon Wood, a phase of the Battle of Passchendaele. It was to attack from positions along Anzac ridge, just south of Polygon Wood, and operated on the left flank of the 5th Australian Division, which had to capture Polygon Wood itself. The 4th Division’s attack was carried by the 4th and 13th Australian Brigades. The 13th Australian Brigade in turn advanced with the 50th Battalion; the 49th and 51st Battalions Australian Infantry were in support.

On 26 September 1917 at 6.45 a.m. the Australians moved forward behind a creeping barrage. The barrage was very dense and powerful, and most German resistance was broken even before the attacking parties arrived. The defenders they did encounter, surrendered willingly. Only some German snipers offered slight resistance.

At 7.55 a.m. the 49th Battalion had moved through Albania Woods and reached its objective, just west of the hamlet of Molenaarelsthoek. Once the men had established their positions they started digging trenches and organized the defence. At 3.30 p.m. and at 6.00 p.m. Germans were seen massing on their front, but both attempts to organize a counterattack were checked with artillery fire. For both Australian Divisions the attack on the 26th of September had been a success. Polygon Wood had been captured by the 5th Australian Division and all Battalions of the 4th Australian Divisions had reached their objectives.

The 49th Battalion was relieved on the night of the 27th of September by the 46th Battalion Australian Infantry. Notwithstanding the success of the attack the 49th Battalion suffered a total of 129 casualties. Twenty-five men were killed, five officers and 94 other ranks were wounded and five men went missing.

Joseph Frederick, aged 23, was killed in action on September 26, 1917. According to his companions, he was the last to jump into the shell hole and got shot in the back. They dressed his wound and got him on a bearer stretcher, but they were hit, wounding Joseph Frederick again very badly. According to Private Moriarty (stretcher bearer) he was just able to say “They have got me again.”. They got him back in the shell hole where he died a few minutes later. Private Lapworth was initially buried where he fell, west of Remus Wood (28.D.28.d.10.10). A rough cross was made with a stick and a German bayonet. After the war, his remains were exhumed and reinterred in Bedford House Cemetery, Enclosure No. 6, Plot 3, Row A, Grave 8.

Files 1

Sources 6

13th Brigade Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/3/20).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
49th Battalion Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/66/16).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), RCDIG1064166).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920 (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455).
https://www.naa.gov.au/
Sources used
J.F. Lapworth, one of the soldiers photographed in The Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 1916.
https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/197483896?keyword=lapworth%202199
Sources used
Unit embarkation nominal rolls, 1914-18 War (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM8).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used

More information 4