The AIF Project

Thomas Arthur LISTER

Regimental number2638
Place of birthWandsworth, London
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Next of kinFather, A H Lister, 396 Kingston Road, Raynes Park, Surrey, England
Enlistment date31 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name26th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/43/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A48 Seang Bee on 21 October 1915
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 27 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll12th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 23-26 July 1916
Age at death from cemetery records21
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
66
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Arthur and Ada LISTER, 325 Kingston Road, Raynes Park, Surrey, England
Other details

War service: Western Front

Statement, Red Cross File No 2340213F, 1768 Pte H.W. LOVE, D Company, 12th Bn (patient 2nd Southern General Hospital, Bristol, England), 12 October 1916: 'A man called [2638 T.A.] Lister and myself were carrying Robson, who was shot in the leg, on a stretcher, when by mistake we went towards the German lines instead of to our trenches. We had to leave Robson and take refuge in a shell hole. The ground was lost and I do not know what became of him afterwards.'

Second statement, 2609 Pte L. HASSEN, D Company,12th Bn, 25 August 1916: 'Lister, Love and I volunteered for stretcher work at Pozieres on July 25th. We found Robson badly wounded and started to bring him in. Love and I carried the stretcher and Lister was third man. As we went on we got lost, M.G. bullets and shells were flying in all directions. We found ourselves about 15 yds. from the German trenches. Lister got wounded in the leg and made straight for the German trenches. He limped along with his hand on his leg. We saw him get right up toward the parapet. No doubt he was taken prisoner. The fire got worse and we had to place Robson in a shell hole and abandon the stretcher. We had to leave him there. His wounds were very bad, he was mutilated all up on one side. He could not live. Love and I lay in a shell hole near by for several hours. At 11.15 a.m. we made a bolt for it. We had got about 10 yds. when Love went down under M.G. fire. He fell, apparently dead. I crawled into another shell hole and stayed there until midday, when I made another run for it and got in safely. I have not heard anything further about any of the men, but feel sure Love and Robson are both dead, and that Lister is either killed or a prisoner.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesRed Cross File No 2340213F

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