Topic: Trooper Lionel Edwin Austen Rolph

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War who died of wounds received during 3rd Battle of Gaza.

Rolph, L.E.A.

Trooper Lionel Edwin Austen Rolph – 17575

Lionel was born at Lakenheath, Suffolk on 1st May 1892, son of Edwin John and Eliza Rolph. He had married Dorothy Dean at Croydon, Surrey on 24th April 1914. They sailed on 12th June 1914 from London to Wellington on the SS Ruapehu. Sadly they had no children. Dorothy Rolph was good singer and performed at a lot of farewell concerts. Before enlisting he was a farmer manager at Riccarton for  J. Trewin. He had previous military experience having served 5 years in the Suffolk Yeomanry Cavalry. He was 5ft 11¼ in tall with a fair complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. He also had a small scar below right knee.

Lionel enlisted at Featherston on 10 March 1916 and was assigned to the 21st Reinforcements Mounted Rifles Brigade. He was promoted to Corporal on 19th August 1916 whilst in camp. He finally embarked from Wellington on the SS Manuka on 8th February 1917. At Sydney they transferred to the Morea and finally at Bombay to the Mashobra which delivered them to Suez. He arrived in Suez on 4th April and proceeded to camp at Moascar. As was usual he reverted to lance corporal but the next day he relinquished even this rank and reverted to plain trooper. He joined the brigade in the field on 15th May and was posted to the 1st Squadron Canterbury Mounted Rifles on the 19th. He was sent to rest camp at Marakeb with debility on 25th September, but after a four weeks he was discharged to duty on 20th October. He was wounded in fighting on 5th November (3rd Battle of Gaza) and the next day he was admitted to 75th Casualty Clearing Station with a gunshot wound to his knee. However by 12th November at Abbassia he was dangerously ill and on 15th he died of his wounds at No 27 General Hospital Abbassia, Cairo, aged 25. He is buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt,( grave ref 342 A.) In New Zealand Lionel is remembered on the Springston War Memorial and in England he is remembered on the Lakenheath War Memorial and a plaque in the Church of St Mary, Lakenheath. 

Researched and written by L M Seaton.


Cemetery locale history: At the outbreak of the First World War, Cairo was headquarters to the United Kingdom garrison in Egypt. With Alexandria, it became the main hospital centre for Gallipoli in 1915 and later dealt with the sick and wounded from operations in Egypt and Palestine. General Headquarters, Middle East Command, was set up in Cairo shortly before the Second World War, remaining there throughout the war years. In January 1941, a Royal Air Force Sector Headquarters for Fighter Defence Canal Zone was established. Cairo was again a significant hospital centre during the Second World War. Cairo War Memorial Cemetery was formerly part of the New British Protestant Cemetery, but plots B, D, F, H, K, M, O, P and Q were ceded to the Commission in 1920. Some graves were brought into these plots from elsewhere in the Protestant cemetery and later, 85 First World War graves were concentrated from Minia War Cemetery, 200 km south of Cairo, where maintenance could not be assured. One burial of the Second World War was moved from Old Cairo Old Latin Cemetery for the same reason. There are now 2,057 Commonwealth casualties of the First World War and 340 from the Second World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. A small number, known to have been buried in other civil cemeteries in Cairo but whose graves are now lost, are commemorated by special memorial. Burials in the following civil cemeteries are now alternatively commemorated in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery: Cairo (Basatin) Jewish Cemetery Old Cairo Jewish Cemetery Cairo Maronite Cemetery Cairo Civil International Cemetery Old Cairo New Latin Cemetery

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Trooper Lionel Edwin Austen Rolph

First Names:Lionel Edwin Austen
Last Name:Rolph
Date of Birth:1st May 1892
Place of Birth:Lakenheath, Suffolk, England
Date of Death:15 November 1917
Place of Death:Cairo, Egypt
Memorial or Cemetery:Cairo War Memorial Cemetery
Age at death:25
User Name:L M Seaton
Occupation before enlisting:Farmer
Marital Status:Married
Nominal Roll:53/1
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Enlistment details:10 March 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Wife, Mrs D. Rolph, Epsom Road, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch, Son of Edwin and Eliza Rolph, England
Service Number:17575
Rank last held:Trooper
Embarkation:8 February 1917
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Theatres of War:Middle East
Cause of Death:Died of wounds
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Trooper Lionel Edwin Austen Rolph by Selwyn Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License