Thomas Hesketh

From Our Contribution

Thomas Hesketh
Hesketh Thomas.jpg
Australia's Fighting Sons of the Empire p.31
Hesketh Thomas grave.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1875
Place of Birth Brunswick, Victoria
Death 24 Aug 1918, aged 43
Place of Death near Villers-Bretonneux, France
Age at Enlistment 41 years, 1 month
Description 5'10" (1.78m) tall ; 152 lbs
68.946 kg
; ruddy complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Horse driver
Religion Church of England
Address Beenup, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Joseph Hesketh
Military Information
Reg Number 1839
Date of Enlistment 1 May 1916
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit/Formation 44th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement transferred to 33rd Battalion Pioneer Platoon
Date of Embarkation 7 Aug 1916 ‒ 25 Sep 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A28 Miltiades Fremantle to Plymouth
Fate Killed in Action 24 Aug 1918 near Villers-Bretonneux
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Beenup panel)
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
WA State War Memorial
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

Original signature was on 14 Apr 1916 in Kalgoorlie, but re-attested in Blackboy Hill camp on 1 May 1916 where he spent just over a week in the 65th Depot Company. In Claremont camp on 1 Jul 1916 Thomas was allocated to the 2nd reinforcement draft for the 44th Battalion. He completed his Australian training with them and travelled to England as part of that draft.

On arrival in England he was sent to the 11th Training Battalion at Larkhill before he joined the 33rd Battalion near Amesbury in England on 14 Nov 1916. This was before the battalion proceeded to France on the 21 Nov 1916 aboard the HMPS Mona's Queen from Southampton.

On 19 Jun 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal. Six months later he was able to return to England for a fortnight's leave from 5 - 19 Jan 1918.

Returning from leave he was admitted to the 10th Field Ambulance on 21 Jan 1918 with Pyrexia, and was passed on to the 11th Field Ambulance on 24 Jan 1918, and then the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station on 3 Feb 1918 where he was diagnosed with Trench fever. On 5 Feb 1918 he was transferred by Ambulance Train to the 2nd Australian General Hospital in Boulogne. On 16 Feb 1918 it was decided to return Tom to England aboard the HS Jan Breydel.

Arriving in England the same day, he was admitted on to the Colchester Military Hospital. Transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital on 28 Mar 1918, he was granted furlough from 8 - 22 Apr 1918 after which he reported to No. 4 Command Depot Hurdcott. On 11 May 1918 he was sent to the Overseas Training Brigade at Longbridge Deverill before returning to France on 5 Jun 1918. After time in the Base Depot, he rejoined the 33rd Battalion on 18 Jun 1918 at Villers-Bretonneux.

The 33rd Battalion War Diary entry for 24 Aug 1918 reads
"Sailly-le-Sec Men slept nearly all morning and went for a swim in the Somme in the afternoon. This freshened them up considerably. The canteen also had a good stock in and they were able to get a few luxuries. Bosche planes over in force at night. One bomb dropped on H.Q. details, killed 2 pioneers and wounded 3."

Thomas was one of the two killed by the bombing raid.

  • Villers Bretonneux Cemetery Photo Linton Reynolds 2015
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • Notes

    The three Hesketh Brothers all served with the A.I.F. While their Father lived in Beenup, the only brother to claim a link to the district was Thomas, who was KIA 24 Aug 1918 near Villers-Bretonneux. Joseph was KIA at Vaux on 8 Sep 1918, while William , although wounded at Gallipoli on 12 May 1915 and at Glencross Wood on 20 Sep 1917, recovered to return to Australia in February 1918.

    1917 Feb-Mar edition of The Drill of the Foot-hills, a local church newsletter, suggested that he enlisted in Dec 1915. No evidence of this claim has been found.

    Hesketh avenue in Armadale named after Thomas or perhaps the family as a whole.

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