The AIF Project

Thomas James CAFFREY

Regimental number1083
Place of birthArmidale, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationFarmer
AddressGrafton Road, Armidale, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation31
Height5' 9"
Weight149 lbs
Next of kinFather, T. Caffrey, Armidale, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 2 years in the Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date10 January 1916
Place of enlistmentArmidale, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name33rd Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/50/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A74 Marathon on 4 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll33rd Battalion
FateDied of disease 15 November 1917
Place of death or woundingDied at sea en route to Australia
Age at death33
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
121
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 4 May 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 9 July 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Admitted to No 10 Field Ambulance, 22 February 1917 (myalgia and lumbago); transferred to No 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, 22 February 1917; to No 26 Ambulance Train, 10 March 1917; to No 14 General Hospital, 11 March 1917 (sciatica); to England, 15 March 1917; to Norfolk War Hospital, 15 March 1917 (rheumatic fever); discharged to furlough, 7 August 1917; marched into No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 22 August 1917.

Commenced return to Australia, 18 October 1917; died at sea, 15 November 1917, of exhaustion following an operation for hydatid of the liver.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, CAFFREY Thomas James

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