Does war, as carried on in our days (1914), entail a greater loss of human life?

Lancelot Payne Ivor Leonard at grave

As a student at The Hutchins School, Lancelot Joseph Wollard Payne (pictured left) debated the topic was:

“Does war, as carried on in our own days, entail a greater loss of human life than was formerly the case?"

The debate was held on 22 August 1914. War was a topical subject. Britain had declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914.

Lancelot Payne’s school life and military service was researched for the Frank MacDonald Memorial Study Tour 2019 by Ivor Leonard (pictured top right), a teacher at The Hutchins School, in Hobart, Tasmania. The cost of World War One to human life was most evident when the Frank MacDonald Study Tour visited military cemeteries in France and Belgium.

Mr Leonard examined school records and archives and found Lancelot was a talented sportsman, throughout his time at Hutchins. It is also recorded that in his first year at Hutchins he finished in first place in diving for objects at the swimming carnival and also won the 50 yards backstroke in the Combined Schools Swimming Carnival.  During 1914 and 1915 his list of sporting achievements included: victories in a number of swimming and athletics competitions, as well as being an active rower, Captain of Football (1915) and a member of the 1st XI at cricket.

School group posed for football team photo

Lancelot Payne, The Hutchins School Captain of Football 1915  (pictured front centre)

Lancelot’s involvement in the Cadet Force is noted in the School Magazine of September 1913 when his efforts as a Lieutenant are acknowledged. Interestingly, his name as a ‘School Officer’ in December 1913 is in the same list as Ivor Margetts, later Captain, a sports master who gave his life at Pozieres and is regularly mentioned in Tasmanian World War One commemorations.

On leaving Hutchins, Lancelot, went straight into the army, enlisting on the 31 January 1916, joining the 10th Infantry Brigade, 40th Infantry Battalion.

Read Ivor Leonard’s research about Lieutenant Lancelot Joseph Wollard Payne MC. (PDF, 1.01MB)

Ivor near crater

Over one century on, the landscape is still scarred by battle.