Thomas William MARSTELLA

MARSTELLA, Thomas William

Service Number: 2166
Enlisted: 19 March 1915, Stanthorpe, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 15th Infantry Battalion
Born: Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia, 14 March 1894
Home Town: Ballandean, Southern Downs, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Miner
Died: Killed in Action, Gallipoli, Turkey, 9 August 1915, aged 21 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Ballandean Sons of the Empire, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Stanthorpe Fallen Soldiers HR, Stanthorpe Soldiers Memorial, Tenterfield & District Fallen Soldiers Roll of Honor Infantry, Tenterfield Leech's Gully Public School WW1 Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

19 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, 2166, Stanthorpe, Queensland
12 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2166, 15th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '11' embarkation_place: Brisbane embarkation_ship: HMAT Karoola embarkation_ship_number: A63 public_note: ''
12 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2166, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Karoola, Brisbane
2 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2166, 15th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
9 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 15th Infantry Battalion, The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli

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Biography contributed by Paul Trevor

'Thomas enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on the 19th March 1915 in Queensland. He was 21 years of age and a Miner, born in Tenterfield. He was described as 5 feet 8 inches tall, 130 lbs, chest 31 1/2 - 34 inches, Dark complexion, Brown eyes and Medium Brown hair. His religion was Anglican. He had a scar on the left side of his forehead and two scars toward the middle of his left leg one on the shin, and the other just to one side of it.

He was assigned to the 15th Battalion, 6th Reinforcements, Service Number 2166, rank Private.

Thomas joined his Battallion on the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 2nd August 1915. Within a week he had been Killed in Action, on the 9th August 1915. Initially he had been reported as "Wounded in Action". The AIF sent a telegram to his step-mother to this effect on the 14th September, 1915. As late as 24th October 1915 the AIF was writing to his brother, in response to pleas for information, indicating this, but without being able to specify a Hospital. In fact the letter states that "The nature of his wound is not at present known here. He is not reported as seriously wounded and Egypt advises in the absence of further reports, it is to be assumed all such cases are progressing satsifactorily." This does indicate a high level of confusion and a lack of knowledge of casualties on the part of the local AIF authorities. From May to August, the 15th battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead. His death (and perhaps that of many others) was subject to a Court of Enquiry held at Serapeum 6-8-28/4/16 and was confirmed in Alexandria on the 17th May 1916.

His personal belongings were sent to his stepmother at Water St, Red Hill, Brisbane on the 27th April 1918 after being incorrectly sent to the Redcliffe Hotel on the 15th February, 1918. An Inventory of his effects was compiled vis: "Ex Kit Store No. 12 Book, Set of Brushes in Case, handkerchief, Letters.

In 1920 The Base Records Office wrote to Mrs Marstella a standard letter indicating that the AIF had been unable to find "any trace of of the last resting place" of Thomas. This was clearly a template letter seeking any evidence the family may have had about the locality of their loved ones such as letters. Mrs Marstella, by now Mrs Roberts, replied with a letter and the notation Lone Pine 8 Aug 1915. A subsequent notation, presumably by the Base Records Office, says "Killed 9.8.15 Sari Bahr. Galliopoli"

He is remembered at the Lone Pine Memorial.' SOURCE (