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Perry, Stanley Llewellyn (1890–1979)

by R. Sutton

This article was published:

Stanley Llewellyn Perry (1890-1979), soldier and chemical engineer, was born on 23 August 1890 in Sydney, eldest of seven children of John William Perry, poulterer, and his wife Louisa, née Mitchell, both English born. While a pupil at Auburn Superior Public School he became sergeant major of the 3rd Battalion, Public Schools Cadet Force. In 1909 he joined the staff of the school of engineering's workshop, University of Sydney, and in mid-1914 became a partner in an engineering business.

From February 1913 Perry had been a second lieutenant in the 39th Infantry Battalion. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 15 October 1914 as a second lieutenant in the 13th Battalion which sailed for Egypt in December; on 1 February 1915 he was promoted lieutenant. After landing at Gallipoli on 25 April his battalion moved to Quinn's Post and Pope's Hill with the task of clearing Russell's Top. The 'Fighting Thirteenth' suffered very heavy casualties that week but during an attack by the Turks on Quinn's Post on 1 May Perry's platoon contributed heavily to their severe casualties. When the Turks broke into Quinn's Post on 29 May, following a massive mine-blast, Perry's men effectively held their position against great odds. On the night of 6/7 August, in an attack on the Turks at Koja Chemen Tepe, Perry was badly wounded and evacuated to Egypt; he rejoined his unit there in January 1916.

On 2 March Perry was transferred to the newly formed 45th Battalion as 'A' Company commander and on 12 March was promoted captain; his battalion embarked for France on 2 June and moved into the line at Fleurbaix and then on the Somme. For outstanding leadership from 1 August until he was severely wounded on 14 August near Pozières, Perry was awarded the Military Cross; on 25 August he was promoted major. After a period in hospital in England he rejoined his unit on 12 December, becoming second-in-command.

The 45th fought at Gueudecourt in January-February 1917, at Bullecourt in April and Messines in June. Perry then attended the Senior Officers' School at Aldershot, England. He was appointed commanding officer and temporary lieutenant-colonel on 16 October and had the task of rebuilding his unit following Passchendaele. In March 1918 the enemy took the offensive and on 5 April at Dernancourt the 45th participated in a successful counter-attack. One of the unit's 250 casualties there was Perry's brother, Lieutenant Theophilus, who was killed. On 1 June Perry was appointed commanding officer of the 48th Battalion and his rank was confirmed. The battalion occupied the line in turn at Sailly-le-Sec, Allonville and Corbie.

In the allied offensive of 8 August the 48th, supported by tanks, was moving to its start-line when Perry was slightly wounded. However, he successfully commanded his unit in the capture of the Blue Line west of Proyart and for his action was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. During the war he was also mentioned in dispatches three times.

After demobilization he and his brother Jack established a chemical engineering company, Pyco, in Sydney. This they operated until the mid-1960s when government restrictions on the importing of pyrethrum flowers for the manufacture of pyrethrin insecticides forced them to sell the firm. In retirement Stanley was the main contributor to Liberty Plains—a History of Auburn (1982). Perry had commanded the 4th Battalion, Australian Military Forces, in 1921-26 and the 20th/54th Battalion in 1929-32. In World War II he was a staff officer in the Volunteer Defence Corps.

Perry had married Mary Elizabeth Evans (d.1962) in the Auburn Baptist Church on 12 April 1924. They had no children. He died in the Repatriation Hospital, Concord, on 2 May 1979 and was cremated after a Presbyterian service. On 17 May 1981 a memorial to him was dedicated at St Paul's Anglican Church, Arncliffe, where the colours of the 45th Battalion were laid up. His portrait is in the Auburn Municipal Library.

Select Bibliography

  • W. Devine, The Story of a Battalion (Melb, 1919)
  • C. E. W. Bean, The Story of Anzac, vols 1, 2 (Syd, 1921, 1924)
  • J. E. Lee, The Chronicle of the 45th Battalion, A.I.F. (Syd, 1924, 1927)
  • T. A. White, The Fighting Thirteenth (Syd, 1924)
  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, 1916-18 (Syd, 1929, 1933, 1937, 1942)
  • G. E. Hall and A. Cousins (eds), Book of Remembrance of the University of Sydney in the War 1914-1918 (Syd, 1939)
  • London Gazette, 14 Nov 1916, 25 Dec 1917, 28 May, 7 Nov, 31 Dec 1918
  • S. L. Perry, personal diary, World War I, photographic albums and papers (held by relations and Auburn District Historical Society, Sydney and University of Sydney)
  • S. L. Perry file (Australian War Memorial)
  • Auburn Municipal Council, Sydney, records
  • private information.

Citation details

R. Sutton, 'Perry, Stanley Llewellyn (1890–1979)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 1 December 2021.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (Melbourne University Press), 1988

View the front pages for Volume 11

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