The AIF Project

Thomas David MERTON

Regimental number5136
Place of birthBraidwood, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationPipe fitters assistant
Address123 Station Street, Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 9"
Weight139 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs N Merton, 123 Station Street, Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the Militia for3 months; left training area.
Enlistment date27 January 1916
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on 5 June 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll33rd Battalion
FateDied of wounds 17 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records19
Place of burialNine Elms British Cemetery (Plot VI, Row C, Grave No. 5), Poperinghe, Belgium
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated in St Stephen's Anglican Church, Major's Creek, New South Wales. Roll of Intercession in the church reads: 'The Prayers of Parishioners are asked for the following Soldiers who are serving their God, King, and Country in the World War against Germany's Aggression, Tyranny, and Frightfulness.' Parents: Arthur and Ellen MERTON, 123 Station Road, Newtown, Sydney. Native of Major's Creek, New South Wales.

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He advanced under cover of a fog and took up a position in "No Man's Land" from which he shot five of the enemy. He has at all times displayed great courage and initiative.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 133
Date: 21 August 1917

Family/military connectionsBrother: 1770 Pte John MERTON, 3rd Bn, returned to Australia, 3 September 1915.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 3 June1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 3 August 1916.

Taken on strength, 33rd Bn, 30 September 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Action described: 'On the morning of February 23rd 1917 Private Merton displayed great gallantry, determination and initiative. At 8 am he asked and received permission to take advantage of the fog and go into NO MAN'S LAND to snipe and to examine the enemy's wire. On nearing the German second line of wire he heard a working party picking in the trenches. He at once moved to a shell hole between the third and last line of wire, a distance of 30 yards from the enemy's trench and 250 yards from ours. Here he distinguished himself. On the lift of the fog he saw an enemy observer whom he killed. Shortly afterwards he shot another who was observing close to the same spot. Later two men appeared one of whom pointed in Merton's direction. He shot this man and he fell into the trench. Eventually a man jumped over the parapet and hid in the wire. This caused great commotion and talk in the enemy's trenches. Whilst in the act of throwing a stick handle grenade he was shot by Private Merton.The grenade fell close by but failed to explode. A 5th man appeared and got over the parapet to thow bombs. Private Merton accounted for him beforehe reached the wire. The enbemy then bombed from his trench and threw about 20 bombs. Private Merton meanwhile withdrew andcame under heavy fire from 2 machine guns. 2 Granton-Werfers were also fired at him. Private Merton returned to our trenches at 11 am. He sniped also from the enemy's first line of wire on the 22nd and remained there until recalled.'

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, in the field, 13 April 1917.

Admitted to 53rd Casualty Clearing Station, 2 July 1917 (venereal disease); transferred by Ambulance Train No 15 to 7th Convalescent Depot, Boulogne, 8 July 1917; to 39th General Hospital, Havre, 10 July 1917; discharged to Base Depot, 2 September 1917; rejoined Bn, in the field, 10 September 1917.

Wounded in action, 16 October 1917 (gun shot wound, chest), and admitted to 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station.

Died of wounds, 17 October 1917.

Medals: Distinguished Conduct Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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