Chaplain Percival John Lanham, the son of John Lanham and Harriet Elizabeth Lanham (nee Johnston), was born at Toowoomba in Queensland on 2nd February 1904. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. At the age of 36 years and 6 months he voluntarily enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Kelvin Grove in Queensland on 2nd September 1940 after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance. At the time of his enlistment he was married, employed as a Clergyman and residing with his wife at Palmwoods in Queensland. He stated that he was of the Methodist religion. He gave his next of kin as his wife, Mrs Bessie Jean Lanham, residing at Palmwoods in Queensland. His wife’s address was later changed to 211 Lancaster Road, Ascot, Brisbane.
Chaplain Percival Lanham was allotted the regimental number of QX6410. He joined the Australian Army Chaplains Department, Northern Command on 2nd September 1940. He was transferred to the 7th Australian General Hospital in Southern Command in Victoria, on 2nd September 1940 and he joined that unit on 6th September 1940. He embarked for overseas service in the Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East on the ship “Aquitania” from Sydney in New South Wales on 3rd February 1941 and he disembarked in the Middle East on 23rd March 1941.
Chaplain Percival Lanham was evacuated to the 64th British General Hospital on 15th August 1942 and on the following day he was transferred to the 41st British General Hospital suffering from schizophrenia. On 16th August 1942 a Medical Board deemed that he had a schizoid personality with acute delusional state. It found that he had delusions of divine power and that he was restless and uncooperative and refused to comply with requests or orders and at times needed physical restraint. The Board considered that he should be repatriated to Australia as soon as possible. Percival Lanham died of hypostatic pneumonia at the 41st British General Hospital on 21st August 1942. At the time of his death he was 38 years of age. He was buried in the Kantara East British Military Cemetery on 22nd August 1942. His headstone in the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt contains the family inscription “Through The Love Of Jesus Christ Our Saviour, All Will Be Well”.
Chaplain Percival Lanham, for his service during World War 2, had entitlement for the 1939/1945 Star, the Africa Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 94 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
His wife applied for and received the Female Relative Badge with one star on 24th September 1941.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 1st February 1917 and that he left the School on 1st December 1918. His parent was shown as Mr John Lanham, “Oakdene”, Bridge Street, Toowoomba. He became a minister of the Methodist Church at Morningside in Brisbane.
TROVE Nambour Chronicle, Qld Fri 4 Sep 1942
Australian War Memorial Honour Roll