Arthur Thomas Lester

From Our Contribution

Arthur Thomas Lester
Personal Information
Date of Birth Mar 1878
Place of Birth Northfleet, Kent, England
Death 6 Sep 1957, aged 77
Place of Death Gosnells, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 36 years, 1 month
Description 5'7½" (1.71m) tall ; 141lbs
63.956 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Church of England
Address Austin avenue, Maddington, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Ethel Lester
Military Information
Reg Number 6329
Date of Enlistment 3 Mar 1915
Rank Driver
Unit/Formation Australian Army Service Corps - 16th Company
Date of Embarkation 22 May 1915
Ship Embarked On HMAT A19 Afric Melbourne to Egypt
Date of Return 28 Feb 1919 ‒ 10 Apr 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A68 Anchises Devonport to Albany
Fate Returned to Australia
Monument Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Medals Queens South Africa Medal (3 clasps)
Kings South Africa Medal (2 clasps)
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Had 12 years prior experience with the British Royal Artillery serving as 18650 Gunner Lester of the 61st Battery, Royal Field Artillery. Served in the Boer War, arriving there in late 1899 and remaining in South Africa until October 1902 when he went to India with the 14th Battery RFA until late 1904. Discharged 14 Feb 1909. Married Ethel Capon in 1906, and emigrated to Australia in 1909.[1] Ethel died 14 Jun 1945, aged 64 in Carlisle. Children born pre war were Doris M b.1912; Blanch Edith b. 1915.

Electoral Roll entries: 1910 - 1915 Maddington, market gardener (Ethel with him in 1912);

War Service

Arthur's enlistment documents appear to incorrectly show him as being born in Maddington as opposed to Northfleet, England. Entered Blackboy Hill camp on 3 mar 1915 and a fortnight later was allocated to the 16thh Company AASC as a Driver. Attended specialist training in Victoria before sailing for Egypt.

On 20 Mar 1916 he boards a ship in Alexandria harbour for Marseilles in France.

Granted leave in England from 26 Apr 1917 until he rejoined his unit on 10 May 1917. On 16 Aug 1917 he reverted to the rank of Private at his own request, and transferred to the Supply Section. While in Belgium in early 1918 he was again granted leave to the UK from 14 Feb 1918 until he rejoined his unit on 6 Mar 1918.

As one of the earlier enlistees, on 28 Dec 1918 he returned to the Base Depot for return to Australia, leaving France on 3 Jan 1919 for Hurdcott via Southampton.

Discharged by the 5th Military District on 10 Jun 1919.

Post War

Son Maurice Arthur born in 1922; daughter Edna b.1928.

Electoral Roll entries: 1925 Albany road, Canningdale via Armadale, market gardener; 1931 - 1943 Station road, Gosnells, carrier; 1949 at Albany road, Maddington; 1954 retired.

There was an incident that occurred in 1934 in Victoria Park, which involved Arthur Lester and made most of the newspapers in West Australia. By today’s standards of driving a car in a state of intoxication, he was fined £20 in default imprisonment for 60 days on each charge and not disqualified from driving, would be considered a light sentence.


Three Charges Laid

This afternoon the Victoria Park police arrested Arthur Thomas Lester (53), carrier, of Station-street, Gosnells on charges of having at Albany-road, driven a motor car whilst in such a state of intoxication as to be incapable of having proper control thereof, secondly, of driving a motor car to the danger of the public; thirdly with failing to stop his car after an accident. It is alleged that the motor car struck a milk cart, but little damage was done.[2]
CHARGE OF DRUNKEN DRIVING On a charge of having driven a motor car- while under the influence of liquor in Albany-road, Cannington, Arthur Thomas Lester (54), carrier, of Station-street, Gosnells, was arrested on Saturday afternoon noon by Constable Padgett. Lester was further charged with dangerous driving and with having failed to stop after a collision. The arrest followed a collision between a motor car and a cart, but nobody was hurt.[3]

Drunken Driver Fined. Arthur Thomas Lester (54), carrier, appeared before Messrs. Melvin and Bishop J.'sP., in the Perth Traffic Court yesterday charged with having driven a motor car while under the influence of liquor and with having failed to stop after an accident. Sergeant Lynes conducted the prosecution, and Mr. G. D'Arcy appeared for Lester. Evidence was given that Lester was driving his car along Albany-road, Victoria Park, towards Armadale about 4.15 p.m. on February 17. The car struck a stationary milk cart and tipped the cart over. It did not stop but continued its journey till it ran out of petrol 2$ miles farther along the road. Harvey Johnson, owner of the milk cart, said that he was in a store when the collision occurred. When he came out and found what had happened, he spoke to a passing motorist and they followed defendant. They discovered his car further along the road. Witness asked him whether he knew that he had struck the cart and he replied that he thought he had just tipped something.' He said that he had looked back, however, but could see nothing wrong. Constables Padgett and McKenzie, who arrested Lester, both said that he was obviously under the influence of liquor. Sergeant Timms said that he saw defendant two hours after the accident. He did not seem to be able to recollect anything. At first he said that he had struck a milk cart and then he said it was a baker's cart. Lester smelt strongly of liquor and was very hazy. Defendant said that his car was running out of petrol, so he leant forward and pulled out the choke. As he did so, he felt a slight bump, but he looked behind and did not see anything wrong, so he drove on. Defendant pleaded guilty to the charge of having failed to stop after an accident. He denied the charge of having driven while under the influence of liquor.

'We have not the slightest doubt that defendant was under the influence of liquor,' said Mr. Melvin, J.P. Lester was fined £20 in default imprisonment for 60 days on each charge.[4]
Assault Case Is Adjourned

'I've never struck her since she was about 14!' exclaimed Arthur Thomas Lester. And he thumped his fist on the bench. 'She's always been antagonistic towards me! Several times she tried to set me out of the house.' But daughter Blanche claimed he had hit her, and hit her hard! 'On March 4,' she said, 'he refused to chop the wood for the fire. I grabbed up the axe and tried to do it myself. He came over and punched me on the arms, and I had bruises there for several days. 'He just won't chop the wood. Mother used to chop it, but she's very ill at the moment. And I can't chop it because I am an invalid pensioner. 'He's hit me and kicked me several times, for almost no reason at all!'

But SM Wallwork didn't think the assault had been proved. Further evidence was needed, so he adjourned the case.[5]


My thanks to the Gosnells Local History Library for their assistance in unravelling this soldier's story.

  1. City of Gosnells Local History Library World War 1 Subject File
  2. Mirror (Perth, WA: 1921 - 1956) Saturday 17 February 1934 p.6 Article
  3. The West Australian (Perth, WA: 1879 - 1954) Monday 19 February 1934 p.8 Article
  4. The West Australian (Perth, WA: 1879 - 1954) Thursday 1 March 1934 p.3 Article
  5. Mirror (Perth, WA: 1921 - 1956) Saturday 18 March 1944 p 16 Article

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