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Roland Thomas LUKE

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Cpl 1585 24y10m 17 May 1915 1919 5

Roland Thomas Luke (1890 - 1947)

Luke Brothers Booklet

The Luke Family from Manchester

David Luke and his wife Mary née Davidson and their two children, Arthur and Clara were passengers on board the royal mail steamer Quetta from Lancashire to Brisbane in 1886. Three more children were born in Brisbane – Gertrude, Roland Thomas and Harry.  Mr David Luke was a carpenter and on arrival the family lived at first at Fortitude Valley, later at Rosa Street in Spring Hill and then at Killeen Street Nundah.  They attended Wharf Street Congregational Church.

Arthur married Mary Alice Bugslag whose younger brother Charles served in World War 1 and whose name is on an honour board at Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church. The eldest daughter Clara married Len Atherden whose name is also on an honour board. Gertrude became a tailoress and did not marry. The two younger brothers, Roland and Harry both served in the Australian Army Medical Corps in the Great War.  Their father Mr David Luke died in 1918 before his sons returned from the war. Their mother Mary died in 1943 at the age of 86 years.

Corporal Roland Thomas Luke

Roland Thomas Luke was born on 20 July 1890 in Brisbane, second son of David and Mary Luke.  Roland was a draper when he enlisted in May 1915 to serve overseas, a single man residing at Nundah with his parents and sister Gertrude.  He had served in the Australian Army Service Corps, part of the citizen defence scheme before the war. 

He was 24 years 10 months old, stood 5 feet 6¾ inches (169.5 cm) tall and weighed 137 lbs (62.1 kg).  Roland’s father, David Luke of Killeen Street Nundah was his next-of-kin and his religious denomination was Congregational.

Like many other young Congregationalists, Roland Luke chose to serve in the Australian Army Medical Corps.  He was attached to the 4th Field Ambulance and embarked from Brisbane on HMAT1 Karoola on 12 June 1915.  

At Tel el Kebir2 he worked at No 1 Australian General Hospital and embarked from Alexandria at the beginning of June 1916 to serve with the British Expeditionary Force in France via Marseilles.  While carrying out the dangerous duties of the Field Ambulance throughout 1917 he suffered gunshot wounding and spent some weeks in hospital at Havre at the end of that year.  He rejoined his unit in the field on 31 December 1917 and was given leave in the UK from 24 February till 12 March 1918.  

He was promoted to Lance-Corporal then Corporal in October 1918 while serving with 15th Battalion performing field ambulance duties. On 2 January 1919 Corporal Luke left the Australian General Base Depot in Havre to prepare for return to Australia per hospital ship Plassy from Southampton on 17 March 1919.  During the voyage he was on nursing staff duties.  He arrived in Australia on 30 April and received discharge soon afterwards.  Medals awarded to him were the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Post war

Roland’s mother at Nundah would have welcomed his return, his father having died in 1918. Mrs Luke and Roland moved to McIntyre Street, Wooloowin.  Later Roland’s younger brother Harry, also an ex-serviceman joined them.  Roland continued his employment as a draper.

On 11 October 1929 Roland married Gertrude Fanny Krefter, daughter of Julius Herman and Charlotte Ann Krefter née Burton at St Thomas’ Church Toowong.  Unfortunately Gertrude died on 12 June 1932 at Dalkeith Private Hospital at Eagle Junction.  She was buried at Lutwyche Cemetery. In 1934 Roland lived at Kingsley in George Street in the city where he was employed as a manufacturer’s agent.

Roland was 45 years old when he married again on 20 July 1935, this time to Ethel Evelyn Rach, daughter of Frederick Rudolph Rach and Annie Cecilia née Maddison of Killarney Queensland.  After their marriage they lived at 83 Somerset Street, Kedron and Roland's occupation was an "agent".  Ethel died on 20 June 1967 and records show that Roland moved to the Freemason's Home at Ward Street, Sandgate around 1969 until his death in 1974.

1. His Majesty's Australian Transport
2. Tel el Kebir training camp was located on the southern side of the Sweet Suez canal, 40km east of Ismailia. 

• Queensland Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages
• Ancestry on line
• Wharf Street Congregational Church Year Books 1909 - 1920, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church Archives, Brisbane
• Brisbane City Council cemetery records
The Telegraph, Brisbane, 16 June 1932, page 8
The Brisbane Courier, 14 June 1932, page 10
• National Archives of Australia, World War 1 military records
• Australian War Memorial, Embarkation Rolls
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903 – 1980
• John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland – cited images

Prepared by Noel Edward Adsett, Brisbane.  February 2016.   Futher updates and additions by Miriam King, March 2024  ©



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