We are greatly saddened to advise of the passing of former Veterans’ Advisory Council Chair and highly respected member of the veteran community, Brigadier Laurie Lewis AM. As well as his significant military service, Brigadier Lewis generously gave back to the veteran community through his involvement with numerous ex-service organisations and associations both as an active and engaged member and often as Patron.
Brigadier Lewis served for 32 years in the Australian Regular Army in both command and staff appointments. He saw active service in South Vietnam as a Company Commander with the 9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, as well as an operational tour in Malaya. He also served overseas in Papua New Guinea and was the Deputy Army Adviser at the Australian High Commission in London. His final appointment in uniform was as the Military Secretary with responsibility for senior Army Officer career management.
Following his military service, he and his wife Di retired to Adelaide, and he was appointed as the General Manager of the Aged Care and Housing Group beginning a long association advocating for aging South Australians. He was Chairman of the Repatriation General Hospital between 1993-2005, an institution he cared deeply about.
Throughout his later years Brigadier Lewis remained involved with the ex-service community in South Australia as Patron of the Royal Australian Regiment Association (SA Branch) and the Guards Association, Vice-Patron of the Association of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen and Women (SA Branch), and Adviser to the War Widow’s Guild of Australia (S.A. Branch). He was also an active member of the Veterans’ Review Board and the Ministerial Advisory Board on Ageing.
In 2006, Brigadier Lewis was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (Australia) for service to veterans as an administrator of aged care and health services, as an adviser to state and national ex-service welfare groups, and through support for charitable organisations. In the same year he commenced his term as Chair of the Consultative Council of Ex-Service Organisations representing 26 ex-service organisations in South Australia.
Brigadier Lewis was a founding member of the South Australian Veterans’ Advisory Council and was appointed as its Chair in 2018 following the passing of Air Vice Marshal Brent Espeland. In his years on the Council he was integral to the planning for South Australia’s commemoration of the centenary of Anzac, including as a member of the Council’s planning group for the Anzac Centenary Memorial Walk. He was intimately involved in the planning and development of the Jamie Larcombe Centre at Glenside tending to the mental health and wellbeing of service personnel.
Throughout his military career and his civilian life, he remained focussed on how he could help others, often eschewing any personal recognition. He didn’t speak the loudest; his actions did that for him.
We reveal ourselves not only by who we are, but by who we remember.
We will remember Brigadier Laurence John Lewis AM.
Lest We Forget.