Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Lording, Rowland Edward (1899–1944)

by William A. Land

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

Rowland Edward Lording (1899-1944), soldier, accountant and author, was born on 20 June 1899 at Balmain, Sydney, son of Edward Ernest Lording, cycle mechanic, and his wife Elizabeth Orton, née Bennett, both Melbourne born. He was educated at Burwood Public School and later became a bookkeeper.

Rowley Lording was barely 16 when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 19 July 1915, was posted to the 30th Battalion and selected for its signalling section. He embarked for Egypt on 9 November and, as a lance corporal, topped the visual signalling class at the Zeitoun School of Instruction. He served in Egypt until June 1916 when the battalion sailed for France. After a very brief tour in a quiet part of the front line he took part in the battle of Fromelles on 19-20 July. As Lording was leading his section across no man's land he was struck down by a burst of machine-gun fire which ripped across his chest and right arm. Minutes later several pieces of shrapnel lodged in his back. With both arms useless and his legs semi-paralysed by spinal injuries he was hospitalized in France and later in England. Operation followed operation and it was not until January 1917 that he was able to get out of bed for the first time. On 22 February he was invalided to Australia and was discharged from the A.I.F. on 12 October.

As a result of his wounds Lording underwent over fifty surgical procedures in the next fifteen years. Six of his ribs were removed and eventually, after many operations to save it, his right arm was amputated above the elbow. Though in constant pain he carried on with 'characteristic grit', taking up art leatherwork and accountancy. In England he had met Rosalind Mary Crowther; they were married in St John's Church, Beecroft, Sydney, on 14 June 1922 and had two sons and a daughter. On full military pension, Lording was founder of the 30th Battalion Association and for several years its honorary secretary. He was also honorary manager of the employment bureau of the Limbless Soldiers' Association. He wrote an account of his war and post-war experiences, There and Back, published in 1935 under the pseudonym 'A. Tiveychoc'.

Lording's marriage ended in divorce and on 1 January 1943 he married Orea Moustaka; he was by then an incorporated accountant. Next year, on 1 October, he died 'in tragic circumstances' at Callan Park Mental Hospital, and was cremated with Methodist forms. His second wife and the children of his first marriage survived him. Because of his shocking wounds Lording's post-war life was 'an epic of human suffering'. An obituary in the Limbless Soldier stated: 'Of small build, and knocked about as he was, Rowley had the heart of a lion and the guts and tenacity of the British bulldog'. A. G. Butler, official medical historian of the A.I.F., considered that he deserved 'a special place (if anyone does) among the immortals of the A.I.F.'

Select Bibliography

  • H. Sloan (ed), The Purple and Gold (Syd, 1938)
  • A. G. Butler, Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services, vol 3 (Canb, 1943)
  • Reveille (Sydney), Oct 1935
  • Limbless Soldier (Sydney), Dec 1944
  • Courier Mail (Brisbane), 10 Mar 1938, 7 May 1939
  • Labor Daily, 25 Apr 1938
  • Sunday Sun (Sydney), 7 May 1939
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Oct 1944
  • Bulletin, 11 Oct 1944
  • war diary, 30th Battalion AIF (Australian War Memorial).

Citation details

William A. Land, 'Lording, Rowland Edward (1899–1944)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lording-rowland-edward-7236/text12531, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 22 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

View the front pages for Volume 10

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2018