The First World War and Western Australia’s Young Lawyers – 2020

The First World War and Western Australia’s Young Lawyers – 2020

By Julianne Mackay, Museum Curator, Old Court House Law Museum

To mark Anzac Day this year, we reflect on the service of some of Western Australia’s young lawyers during the First World War. Chris Ewing and Lindsay Glowrey were both working as Law Clerks in Perth, and even played on the same football team, when they enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during World War One.

Gunner Chris Ewing

Thomas Parker Christopher (Chris) Ewing was an athletically talented 22 year old Law Clerk with A.W. Henderson when he enlisted at Blackboy Hill on the 17th of August 1914 – the same day the AIF training camp was established there.

Ewing landed at Gallipoli on the 25th of April 1915, as part of the AIF’s 8th Artillery Battery, 2nd Australian Field Regiment. He was still there on the 22nd of June when he wrote in a letter to his mother (pictured); “We expect at big move very shortly but shan’t be sorry as we have been on this hill just on eight weeks now.” He suffered shellshock and injuries to his foot (requiring a partial amputation) in this “big move”, and was hospitalised on Lemnos Island, Greece, and in England before being discharged from the Army due to his injuries in September 1916.

Upon returning home to Perth, Ewing continued his studies and became a special war pension magistrate, working for the government, as well as practicing at his own law firm on St Georges Terrace. He was a popular figure around town, renowned for his wit, storytelling and poetry recitations. The Great Depression brought great financial hardship but, according to his children, Ewing and his wife Vera remained optimistic during these troubling times.

Despite his war-time injuries, Ewing continued to live an active lifestyle – even winning the state mixed doubles tennis championship in 1925. Sadly, his injuries caught up with him later in life when he stumbled down a flight of steep stairs in 1953, fatally resulting in a fractured skull.

2nd Lieutenant Lindsay Glowrey

Lindsay Gordon Glowrey was a dynamic 23-year-old articled Law Clerk when he enlisted with the AIF on the 8th of August 1915. He is remembered as a spirited and loyal young man while at school, whose athletic talents shined through in his college football, cricket, and rowing careers, as well as his love of surfing. He also displayed an untiring enthusiasm and energy for his drama club, in which he was coached by his elocution master Lionel Logue (who later worked with King George VI). Glowrey studied law at Adelaide University, with his AIF attestation papers listing him as an apprentice of 3 and a half years with Villeneuve Francis Smith, of Smith and Lavan Barristers in Perth.

He was assigned to the 16th Battalion, and embarked from Fremantle to serve on the Western Front in France, in February 1916.  A letter from Glowrey to his parents (proprietors of the Palace Hotel, on the corner of William Street and St Georges Terrace) was published in The West Australian in October 1916, and sums up his dedication to his military service in France; “I could wish that I were home with you all now so that I could answer your letter personally. But it is the will of God that I should be 13,000 miles away doing my best for my country in a war that means the saving of the world, and surely you would not have your son doing anything else.”

Glowrey’s abilities as a natural leader, were evident in his conduct on the battlefield. Early in the morning of the 11th of April 1917, aged just 25 years, he was heard calling to his men in the trenches near Bullecourt as they prepared to face enemy fire. Shortly after leading them into battle, Glowrey was shot and wounded. Just moments later he was struck a deadly blow to the head by part of an artillery shell. In his last moments he was reported as saying “Tell them that I tried to do my best”.

Glowrey has no known grave, but is commemorated alongside over 10,000 fellow Australians at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneaux, France. His family spent years searching for the final resting place of their son, sending multiple requests to the AIF for information about his death.

End notes:

Biographical details courtesy of research undertaken by Julianne Mackay for the From Law to War to Peace exhibition displayed at the Old Court House Law Museum for the Centenary of Armistice in 2018-19. Letter and further biographical details about Chris Ewing were kindly supplied by the Ewing family.

Further details of Ewing and Glowrey’s service can be found in the following sources:

Featured news articles can be read in full on Trove, courtesy of the National Library of Australia:

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