Thomas Henry O'DONNELL


O'DONNELL, Thomas Henry

Service Number: 6183
Enlisted: 29 September 1916
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Tullow, , Carlow, Ireland, 8 December 1889
Home Town: Angaston, Barossa, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 28 September 1917, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Aeroplane Cemetery
Special Memorial B. 4 Believed to be buried in this cemetery. INSCRIPTION A GALLANT SOLDIER AND LOVING SON JESUS AND MARY GUARD HIM
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Angaston District WW1 Roll of Honour, Angaston WW1 & WW2 War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

29 Sep 1916: Enlisted
6 Nov 1916: Involvement Private, SN 6183, 27th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
6 Nov 1916: Embarked Private, SN 6183, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Adelaide
28 Sep 1917: Involvement Private, SN 6183, 50th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres

Help us honour Thomas Henry O'Donnell's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

50th Battalion, Australian Infantry, A.I.F.

He was 27 and the son of Thomas Henry and Elizabeth Mary O'Donnell.

Enlistment date 29 September 1916

Age at embarkation 25

27th Battalion, 17th Reinforcement.

AWM Embarkation Roll number 23/44/4

Unit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A19 Afric on 6 November 1916.

War service: Western Front

His brother, Corporal John Patrick  O'Donnell served in Egypt, Gallipoli, and on the Western Front and survived the war, returning to Australia on 12 June 1919 for discharge 12 August 1919, He was the author of 'Songs of an Anzac' [war poems] (Dublin: Browne & Nolan, 1918)

Thomas is remembered on the Carlow Great War Memorial which stands in Leighlinbridge Memorial Garden, Milford Street, Leighlinbridge, County Carlow


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From Australian Great War Poetry

Here’s a nice bit of verse from Corporal John Patrick O'Donnell. 10th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Australian Imperial Force. John’s brother, Pte Thomas Henry O'Donnell, did not enlist until 1916 and served in a different battalion (50th) and regiment as his brother. It is believed that they met briefly in France in 1917 but sadly Thomas Henry died at Westhoek, Flanders on 28 September 1917. While recuperating from war wounds in Netley hospital in Hampshire in the UK in 1918 O’Donnell wrote the following poem in memory of his twin and the concluding lines recall their emigrant life in Australia and the sacrifice of many in the war to end all wars.

To Tom
By Corporal John Patrick O'Donnell

Do you recall way back on sunny shores,
The grand old gumtrees by McCarthy’s creek;
The Kookoburas laughing in the trees,
And all the world asleep.

Sometimes I think I hear your merry laugh,
As down the gully distant hoofs drew nigh,
And all around the wondrous tropic night
And starry sky.

But when again the Spring in France shall break,
With scarlet poppy and wild Somme flowers,
Perchance some little sky lark’s note shall shake
Departing Winter’s stillness in the bowers.

And when the tempest of my life is o’er,
And night draws nigh – may I so hope to chance
To sleep as peaceful, when my Spring shall break,
As those who fell for France.