Murchison remembers John Thomas Lyons

By James Bennett

Today, Murchison RSL sub-branch president Justin Appleton will present a story about a Murchison boy that joined the army at 16.

Private John Thomas Lyons

John Thomas Lyons was born in Murchison on February 27 1898.

He was the oldest son in a large family of eleven children that lived in South Murchison.

His father, John Thomas Lyons Snr was a channel overseer who worked on the Goulburn Weir.

In August 1914 (shortly after the outbreak of war), John Thomas Lyons, 16, and a friend rode their bicycles towards Shepparton but kept riding to Sydney.

They avoided towns during the day in case the police were looking for them and slept rough often in farm buildings.

As no enlistment centres had been set up in country towns, other young men were doing the same thing and didn't have enough money for a train.

In early September, John and his friend made it to Sydney. He arrived at an enlistment centre claiming to be 19 and two months.

He was enlisted with the 3rd Battalion (regimental number 150). The same day the Australian government increased its commitment of 20,000 men to 26,000 men

A month later Private Lyons departed Sydney on the troop ship Euripides and arrive in King George Sound, WA six days later on October 26.

He was part of the largest convoy to ever leave Australia - 30 000 men and 8 000 horses.

On April 25 1915, Private Lyons was part of the first few waves of men to arrive on the Gallipoli shores.

He was one of the few in the 3rd Battalion to survive the first few weeks.

But the boy from South Murchison would die less than a month after landing on Gallipoli.

It was May 19 during an assault by the Turkish army. Although it was one of the Anzac's few victories at Gallipoli, it would not be for Private Lyons.

He was one of 160 men killed during the assault.

The Murchison Advertiser acknowledged John Thomas Lyons was the first soldier from the district to die in the war on June 25.

Today Murchison remembers those who serves and made the ultimate sacrifice - the men and women of all wars that contributed to our freedom

As a small community it has seen the benefits and importance to engage with the younger members of the community and broader community in the town's reflective ceremonies.

- with Justin Appleton and information supplied from The Lost Boys by Paul Byrnes.

Today's remembrance service in Murchison is at the Riverside Gardens, Stevenson St from 10.30am.