Private Samuel Luke
4th Pioneer Battalion, AIF
Service Number: 4830
Born: 1877, St Marys, NSW
Died: 21 April 1917, Vaulx-Vraucourt, France
Samuel Henry Luke was born in 1877 at St Marys, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Anna (nee Morphett) Luke. The family lived at Mamre where Elizabeth’s husband worked. Luke’s father died in 1887 leaving his wife to care for her 8 children, the youngest was just a year old. In 1896, she married John Delaney and had a further 3 children. John Delaney did contract work for St Marys Council and worked for James Hall at Mamre. Before enlisting, Luke worked as a labourer in the St Marys district and lived with his family near Erskine Park. On 10 January 1914, Luke was involved in a family tragedy when his pipe accidently set his sister’s dress on fire. He was travelling home from St Marys with his mother and sister, Emily Stonestreet, in their sulky. A spark from his pipe set her dress on fire and the strong hot wind quickly inflamed her thin print dress. They had been in St Marys to register her third child, a three week old baby. She died that day in Nepean Hospital. A year later, almost to the day, their mother Elizabeth Ann Delaney died.
Luke enlisted at Ashfield on 11 November 1915 after joining the Coo-ee March from Gilgandra to Sydney when it passed through St Marys. He was allocated to the 15th reinforcements, 13th Battalion and left Sydney aboard HMAT Star of England on 8 March 1916. He listed his eldest brother James Luke of St Marys as his next of kin.
Luke disembarked in Egypt on 11 April 1916. Two weeks later, Luke transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion, Australian Fourth Division. In June 1916, Luke embarked aboard HMAT Scotian and disembarked at Marseilles bound for the Western Front. During 1916 the 4th Pioneer Battalion took part in operations at Pozieres and Flers.
On 21 April 1917 during the First Battle of Bullecourt the 4th Pioneer Battalion was constructing tramways in the vicinity of Vaulx–Vraucourt, France when Luke was killed by a high explosive shell. He was buried in the Vaulx Hill Cemetery.
- Vaulx Hill Cemetery, France
- Honor Roll, Victoria Park, St Marys