Walter John Thomas

First Name: 
Walter
Middle Name: 
John
Last Name: 
Thomas
Date of Birth: 
Sunday, April 21, 1889
Mother's Name: 
Jane Thomas (nee Pearson)
Father's Name: 
William Thomas
Date Enlisted: 
Tuesday, August 25, 1914
Rank at Enlistment: 
Private
Rank at Discharge: 
Private
Unit: 
1st Light Horse, 13th Battalion
Company: 
B Squadron
Service: 
Infantry
Awards: 
British War Medal
Victory Medal
1914/15 Star
Date of Death: 
Thursday, October 24, 1957
Place of Death: 
Wollonong
Details: 

Walter John Thomas (Service No 351) was born at Marshall Mount, N.S.W. on 21 April 1889 to William and Jane Thomas. He attended Marshall Mount School and was considered good with horses from an early age. Walter worked on a farm and belonged to the Light Horse and Rifle Club. At the outbreak of the First World War he volunteered for service with the First Light Horse Regiment.
Walter embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A16 Star of Victoria on 20 October 1914. He served in Egypt and the latter part of Gallipoli where he was wounded and invalided home arriving in Australia on 24 June 1916.

He re-enlisted on 21 October 1916 (assigned Service No 6829) and embarked from Sydney on boart HMAT Port Nicholson, on 8 November 1916, with the 13th Battalion, 22nd Reinforcement. Walter took part in the Battle of Bullencourt and during the fighting was one of 900 men taken prisoner. His health deteriorated in the prison camp and he was eventually transferred to Switzerland during an exchange of prisoners.

He arrived back in Australia on 17 March 1919. Walter then decided to take up Ministry in the Methodist Church and spent several years of hard study both at home and with the Central Methodist Mission at Sydney before commencing his 26 years of active ministry.

Walter Thomas met his wife Isabelle during the war and married her after he took up church work. They retired to Tarrawanna, N..S.W. until he passed away at 68 years. He is buried at Marshall Mount Cemetery.

It is believed Walter Thomas and his friend Bob Parkinson may have been the first from the area to enlist in the Light Horse.

Walter’s father William Thomas II was also heavily involved with the Methodist Church and handed down The Legend of Marshall Mount Creek to his son, who in turn passed it down to his children:

"Many years ago, up under the mountain cliffs at the head of Calderwood Valley, there emerged two springs of water. One said ‘It is so beautiful and cool in the shade of the thick bush and I want to remain here forever’. The other proclaimed ‘I am going to see the world and enjoy myself’, and so went scampering down the mountain and glistening in the sun, building up fertile flats and forever providing food and water for man and beast and spreading goodwill and happiness in its path.

Years later, when the spring which formed the Marshall Mount Creek returned to the mountain cliffs to inquire into the welfare of the other, it found its neighbour gloomy and stagnant, a wasted life".

The Thomas family are well known in the Shellharbour are with hundreds of descendants still living in the city today.

Sources: 
Thomas, Stan 1968 'One Hundred and Thirty Years'
NAA: B2455, THOMAS W J (This file contains documents relating to both Walter Thomas' service numbers)

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