Lewes Detention Barracks


Lieutenant: Stephen Matthew HARRIS  34th Battalion, A.I.F. School Teacher, Armidale, (To be Dismissed from His Majesty's Service)

Lance Corporal: 1612 "Ted" Edwin Joseph KING. 19th-34th Battalion, A.I.F. Shop Assistant, Sydney, N.S.W. (Charged with Mutiny)

Private: 2524 Albert BAILEY. 34th Battalion, A.I.F. Labourer, Gunnedah, N.S.W. (Deserter)

Private: 1945 Robert BURNS. 36th Battalion AIF. Labourer, Freemantle, Western Australia. (Deserter)

Private: 4888 Robert BURNS. Able Seaman H.M.A.S.Encounter; H.M.A.S. Una (Deserter) and enlisted with the 35th Battalion AIF. Labourer, Walkers Restaurant Newcastle, N.S.W.

Private: 58954 Ernest HOWARD. 35th Battalion, A.I.F. Steward, Bankstown, N.S.W. (Deserter Mercantile Marine)

Private: 2781-2921 Edmund Clarence Clement HUNT. Pattermaker, Sydney, N.S.W (Deserter from 18th Battalion) enlisted with the 34th Battalion AIF.

Private: 3677 V W MATHERSON. 36th Battalion (D Company) A.I.F. (Deserter)

Private: 2368 Norman MCLEAN. 34th Battalion, A.I.F. Commercial Traveller, Newcastle, N.S.W. (Deserter)

Private: 2179 Denis "Denny" SHERRY. 36th Battalion (D Company) A.I.F. Aboriginal Labourer, Gladstone, Macley River via Kempsey. N.S.W. (Deserter; Sentenced to Death)

Private: 220 William Arthur TREAY. 35th Battalion, A.I.F. Labourer, Teralba, N.S.W. (Not Guilty Desertion. Guilty AWL)

Though liable to be executed for mutiny, desertion to the enemy or treachery, the 129 Australians (including 119 deserters) that were sentenced to death during the war (117 in France) were not shot.


The agreed date for the AIF to take over HMP Lewes and establish the AIF Detention Barrack was 1 November 1917. Prior to that date, a fair amount of work still had to be done. On 18 October, the War Office set the arrangement firmly in place with a letter to AIF Administrative HQ confirming that HM Prison Lewes was to be taken over by the AIF on 1 November 1917. The letter went on to direct the AIF to issue instructions that all Australian soldiers sentenced to detention after that date to be committed thereto." Members of the AIF who were currently under detention and whose sentences expired after 1 December 1917 were to be transferred to Lewes as soon as possible. Although it is not stated in the letter, presumably, AIF prisoners currently undergoing detention in British Army Detention Barracks, and whose sentences expired before 1 December 1917, were to remain in place to complete their sentences. The letter also stated that industrial work for men under sentence would be supplied by the Prison Commissioners. Appended to the letter was list of requirements for the prison to comply with in order to abide by British Army regulations dealing with detention barracks.

The AIF Detention Barrack

World War 1 Records

Private: 2368 Norman MCLEAN. 34th Battalion AIF.

Under Construction: 10/11/2012-29/11/2017.

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