Thomas Henry Taylor

Rank Private
Service No 3933
Date of Death 03/05/1917
Age 35
Regiment/Service Australian Infantry Australian Imperial Force, 17th Battalion.
Memorial Villers-Bretonneux Memorial located 16 kilometres east of Amiens in the Somme region of France.

 

Thomas was born on 23rd January 1888 in Grafton, New South Wales, Australia. His parents were Cephas James Taylor (1844-1896) and Mary Ann Reynolds (1851-1918) and his siblings were Dunster (1890-1971), and Clara Victoria and Clara Violet (twins b. 1893).

He enlisted on 15th October 1915 and gave his next of kin as his mother, Mary Ann Gilmour, so it appears that she re-married, and his Christian denomination as Methodist. On 20th January 1916 he embarked, as a member of the 17th Infantry Battalion, on HM Australian Transport Runic from Sydney. He travelled to the Western Front on 23rd March 1916 from Alexandria, Egypt arriving at Marseilles, France, on 3rd April. He travelled to the 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples, south of Boulogne, on 4th April. Established in March 1916, Etaples became the base for the AIF. According to many that went through the base it was not a pleasant place and with the intensive training in gas warfare and bayonet drill it was said that many a man was actually looking forward to leaving the base and getting to the Front! 

On 19th May 1916, Thomas was admitted to the 26th General Hospital at Etaples with influenza. On 23rd May, he is recorded as suffering mildly from an old appendix scar. A week later, he is listed as having a mild left inguinal hernia. He soon regained his health as on 16th June he went to the 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot in Etaples and on 7th July he joined 17th battalion. 

On 11th November 1916, Thomas was injured and taken to hospital. A week later he was admitted to the 5th Australian Field Ambulance and the next day he was admitted to the 6th General Hospital in Rouen suffering from an inflammation connective tissue (ICT) in the leg. ICT was a general term for suppurating skin diseases caused mainly due to parasitic disease. This was extremely common among soldiers in the Great War due to the dirty conditions they had to live in.

His condition was such that on 27th November 1916 he sailed from Le Havre to England on HM Hospital Ship Asturias and on 11th December he was in the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford in Kent. He recovered as he was on furlough from 8th January to 23rd January 1917 and on 24th January he reported to No 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs in Wiltshire.

He took ill again being sick with mumps from 27th February to 4th March 1917. Having returned to health, he returned to France via Folkestone on 5th April, arriving at the 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples the next day. On 21st April 1917, he rejoined his battalion but on 5th May he was reported missing in action. On 14th March 1918, a court of enquiry decided that he was killed in action.

http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1060516--1-.PDF indicates there was some uncertainty as to what happened to him but this then produces evidence that he was killed.