Topic: GW - Biographies
35878 Gunner Randolph “Randy” Lycett
Rines Mary Lycett
This is a small segment in the life of 35878 Gunner Randolph “Randy” Lycett who served with the 11th Field Artillery Brigade, 42nd Battery.
Lycett puts as his next of kin his daughter Marjory Rines Mary Lycett – it appears a tad bit strange to throw such a weight of responsibility upon a child born on 19 October 1909 at “Glenalvon” Broadway, East Camberwell, and a bare 7 years old at the time Randy enlisted. It starts to make a person wonder as to why this was so.
Randy was born in 1887 at Birmingham, England. His parents moved to Australia where his father set up a successful company called the Vacuum Oil Company at Normanby Road, South Melbourne. As he grew up, Randy’s talent as a tennis player was recognised and by the time he was in his early 20’s, he was a well known Australian tennis player. For cash, he worked as a manager in his father’s company.
In 1908, at 21, he met 23 years old Rines Mary, who lived at Lorne Grove, Camberwell.
The two got along well and in September of that year, the couple were married by the Reverend PJ Murdoch on 16 September 1908 at the Camberwell Presbyterian Church. After their marriage, they moved to at “Glenalvon” Broadway, East Camberwell. They had two children, Marjory, the girl mentioned above, and Ena Carey who was born at the same address on 8 March 1912.
Let’s move forward a couple years to 31 March 1914. Randy’s wife, Rines, took the children on a holiday to Woodend for about 3 weeks. Randy pleaded that work commitments prevented him from joining her. While she was away, Randy availed himself of accommodation with his very good mate, Harold Hunt who had a flat at Bateman House on the corner of William and Little Collin Street. Because Randy had to work long and hard for his slave driving father, he suggested that his dear wife take a further week of holidays. She declined and returned home on 21 April 1914. After this time, Randy would plead late hours to his wife and either stay with his cobber or come home very early in the morning.
By 11 May 1914, the very suspicious wife employed the well known and top Melbourne private detective, Mr John William Balchin, to follow rorting Randy. Like a sleuth from “Cheaters”, Balchin followed Randy for nearly two weeks. He gathered enough evidence to bring Rines Mary in on the end game. Joined by her brother, Rines and Balchin drove by car to the city and parked outside Her Majesty’s Theatre at Exhibition Street for a "Joey Grecco" moment.
Playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre, commencing in April, was the first Australian review called “Come Over Here”, a fantastical review populated by dozens of glamorous show girls. After the show was over, they spotted Randy, Harry and a show girl leave the theatre in together. The three got into a motor car and drove to the Hunt Club Hotel in Little Collins Street. This was a well known theatrical rendezvous where many kept rooms while their shows were on at the various theatres. The room to which they went belonged to the peculiarly named, Cara Domain, a comely damsel with concupiscent capers in mind. After 10 minutes, all three walked arm in arm to the Café Francatelli in Collins Street, where they arrived at 11.50 pm.
It wasn’t until after an elofatime, at about 2.10 am Sunday morning, that they all left the café and walked towards Bateman House, arriving there at 2.20am. They took the elevator to the 3rd floor and entered Room No. 6. At 3.30am, Rines and Balchin and her brother walked up the stairs to Harry’s room.
Balchin knocked loudly.
There was a light showing under the door but there was no response to the knock.
This time Rines knocked and rorting Randy opened the door in a dishevelled state. Through the door, Rines could see a woman’s clothing over the floor with Cara in bed. When Cara saw Rines, she covered her face with her hands.
Rines called out: “You needn’t do that. We have seen you before!”
Then to her husband she said: “ So this is the state of affairs is it?”
In reply, Randy asked: “What’s that got to do with you?”
“It’s got everything to do with me!”
Rines and her companions departed. The marriage had ended. Rines packed up her household and moved with the two children to “Taranaki”, Sims Street, Sandringham where she was living at the time Randy enlisted in the AIF. Her sole means of support was £3 per week.
A happily married man never volunteers to go to war.
Randy had a good war. His tennis skills saw to that. Always a favourite on the General’s circuit, he hardly ever saw the mud of the Western Front but instead saw the grassy courts of Wimbledon on special assignment at AIF Headquarters in London, no doubt assisting the General’s wives with their swing. After the war, Randy toured the US as a tennis pro earning himself a tidy sum to settle down and set up a new life.
Randolf Lycett was nothing more than a self centred fellow who gave little thought to others. It didn’t matter who he hurt with his glib lifestyle, so long as it gave him a laugh and a good time. No thought given to the damaged lives left in his wake.
Great War, Military Biographies
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: Great War, Military Biographies, 35878 Gunner Randolph "Randy" Lycett