The AIF Project

Thomas McLaren WILSON

Regimental number11965
Place of birthMelbourne, Victoria
SchoolLinton State School, Humphrey State School, Ballarat High School, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationPostman
Address514 Neil Street, Ballarat, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 8.25"
Weight144 lbs
Next of kinFather, T. Wilson, same address
Previous military serviceNil (previously rejected on account of rheumatism)
Enlistment date10 April 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll4 May 1916
Place of enlistmentBallarat, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentMotor Transport Driver
Unit nameSupply Column 3, Army Service Corps 26
AWM Embarkation Roll number25/29/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A19 Afric on 5 June 1916
Rank from Nominal RollDriver
Unit from Nominal RollAustralian Army Service Corps
FateDied of disease 13 August 1917
Age at death from cemetery records23
Place of burialAt sea
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
181
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated on Roll of Honour, Peacock Hall, Ballarat High School, Victoria. Parents: Thomas and the late Mrs WILSON
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 5 June 1916; found guilty, at sea, 24 June 1916, of disobeying a Ship's Order: awarded 3 days' confined to barracks; disembarked Southampton, England, 24 July 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 25 November 1916.

Admitted to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, 5 December 1916 (influenza); transferred to Ambulance Train, 7 December 1916, and admitted to British Red Cross Hospital, Wimereux, 8 December 1916 (influenza: slight); discharged to No 1 Convalescent Depot, Boulogne, 27 December 1916; to Australian General Base Depot, Etaples, 3 January 1917; joined 1st Australian Division Supply Column, 12 January 1916.

Transferred to 3rd Australian Division Supply Column, 25 January 1917.

Admitted to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, 7 February 1917 (bronchitis); transferred to Ambulance Train No 14, 14 February 1917, and admitted to 3rd Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne, 14 February 1917 (bronchitis); transferred to England, 22 February 1917 (pulmonary tuberculosis, left lung), and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, 24 February 1917; transferred to 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 18 April 1917.

Commenced return to Australia on board HS 'Karoola', 3 July 1917; died at sea (phthisis), 13 August 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WILSON Thomas McLaren

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