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Lionel Brizzolara, 1915. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

Lionel Brizzolara, 1915.
Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

Lionel Brizzolara was born in Lucknow in 1896. He was one of four children born to Luigi and wife Catherine (nee Callinan). Lionel attended Lucknow Public School, and later Orange Public School. As a youth he served in cadets and the militia and was a keen footballer.

Lionel trained as a wheelwright, securing employment at Gardiner’s coach factory in Orange, and was working there during 1913. When he enlisted in May 1915, Lionel gave his address as 24 St Hilliers Road, Auburn, where his parents resided.

Private Brizzolara embarked from Sydney in July 1915, proceeding to Egypt. He joined the 2nd Battalion at Gallipoli in early November. Lionel returned to Egypt following the evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915, and proceeded to France in March 1916.

Private Brizzolara was part of the first wave of troops to fight in the Battle of Pozieres. He sustained severe shell wounds to his right leg at about 12.30am on the night of 22 July – in the first hour of a bloody battle that would continue until 5 August and cost Australia 23,000 casualties. Lionel was transported to the 1st Australian Field Ambulance, where his leg was amputated. Lionel survived for a further two days; he died from his wounds on 25 July 1916, aged 21. He is buried in Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery in the Picardie region of France.

On 25 April 1917 the second ever Anzac Day service in Orange was held at the Orange Public School. Mayoress McNeilly placed a laurel wreath on the Union Jack for each fallen soldier who had attended the school, including Lionel Brizzolara.

Lionel is commemorated on the Lucknow Public School Honour Roll. In September 1964 tree was planted in front of the school in his memory. It was one of thirteen trees planted to commemorate those ex students and teachers who had died during WWI and WWII.

Lionel is also commemorated on the Auburn District Memorial in Sydney.