The AIF Project

George Albion THOMAS

Regimental number1745
Date of birth3 May 1895
Place of birthStafford Street, Stonehenge, Queensland
SchoolLongreach State School, Queensland
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationDrover
AddressWinton, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height5' 9"
Weight138 lbs
Next of kinFather, George Allen Thomas, Jericho, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil (exempt area under Compulsory Military Training scheme)
Enlistment date10 January 1916
Place of enlistmentTownsville, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name47th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/64/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board SS Hawkes Bay on 20 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll47th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 16 November 1916
Place of death or woundingFritzes Folly near Flers, France
Age at death21.6
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
147
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: George Alban and Sophia THOMAS (nee Ryan), of Crane Street, Longreach, Queensland.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria, 6 June 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 16 June 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France to join the British Expeditionary Force, 25 July 1916; taken on strength, 47th Bn, in the field, 18 August 1916.

Admitted to 1st Division Rest Station, 12 September 1916 (influenza), and transferred to North Midlands Casualty Clearing Station (tonsillitis); discharged to duty, 20 September 1916; rejoined Bn, in the field, 23 September 1916.

Killed in action, 19 November 1916.

Handwritten note on Form B103: 'Buried in Village of Flers Sh. 57 C SW N31C.'

Grave subsequently lost.

Statement, Red Cross File No 2720507N, 393 Pte F. RUSHMER, 1st Bn, 20 May 1917: '[T]he informant has the identification Disc taken from the dead body at Flers after the evacuation by the enemy of the trenches. The body had evidently been dead some months.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, THOMAS George Albion
Red Cross File No 2720507N

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