A family at war: the Lucas family

Between them the Lucas brothers represent a microcosm of the Australian Army's experience during World War II. They fought the Germans and Italians in the Middle East, the Japanese in Malaya and New Guinea, and defended Australia against enemy attack in Darwin.

After his wife died in 1929, Henry Lucas (Senior) moved from Bega on the south coast of New South Wales and reared their 15 children in a disused dairy some miles up the Brogo River. Life was tough during the Depression of the 1930s and the children had a three-mile walk (7 km) to the Brogo North School. The family lived mainly on rabbits, pumpkin and potatoes and during the winter they earned a living trapping rabbits and selling their skins. In summer, they stripped and bundled wattle bark and sold it to the tanneries who used it for tanning hides and making leather. Harold, one of Henry's younger sons, died from pneumonia.

This tough background stood the family in good stead when war came in 1939. By 1942, nine of the brothers had enlisted in the Australian Army: Henry (junior), Lance, Bill, Rufus, Ron, Dudley, Jimmy, Jack and their youngest brother Basil.

Two Lucas brothers died on active service. Private Dudley 'Dick' Lucas was killed in Malaya and Private Basil Lucas died in Papua.

On 4 January 1985, the Bega District News featured an article on the Lucas brothers. According to the article, Basil, or 'Babe' as he was known, was 15 years old when he enlisted and celebrated his 16th birthday in Palestine. Jimmy, who enlisted at the same time, was said to be 17 and the World War Two Nominal Roll shows that the two brothers shared consecutive service numbers: NX599 and NX600.

All the brothers can be found on the WW2 Nominal Roll.


Last updated: 1 February 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), A family at war: the Lucas family, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 4 December 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/world-war-ii-1939-1945/events/victory-8-may-194515-august-1945/family-war-lucas-family
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