Thomas Ernest BYERS


BYERS, Thomas Ernest

Service Number: 3017
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 40th Infantry Battalion
Born: Tunnack, Tasmania, Australia, August 1895
Home Town: Tunnack, Southern Midlands, Tasmania
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farm Labourer
Died: Died of wounds, France, 28 March 1918
Cemetery: Querrieu British Cemetery
Row A Grave 2
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Oatlands Soldiers Memorial, Tunnack State School Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

10 Feb 1917: Involvement Private, SN 3017, 40th Infantry Battalion
10 Feb 1917: Embarked Private, SN 3017, 40th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Adelaide

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte 3017 Thomas Ernest Byers, 40th Inf BnOn the fields of the Somme, under a radiant sun under which the poppies grow in silence, rest in peace a whole generation of young men who, more than a hundred years ago, fought and fell in the mud of the trenches and battlefields.They came from the other side of the world, proud and brave and all answered the call of duty to serve their country and fight on the soils of France on which, united today in eternity and in the peace they fell for, they are remembered and honored with the utmost respect. Gone but not and never forgotten, we will never never forget what they did for us and we will always remember what they were, a generation of heroes who shed their blood together, men who did their duty with honor and dedication and who, in my heart, will always be my heroes, my boys of the Somme.

Today,it is the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme whose memory I would like to honor with gratitude, I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 3017 Thomas Ernest Byers who fought in the 40th Australian Infantry Battalion and who died of his wounds 103 years ago, on March 28, 1918 at the age of 22 on the Somme front.

Thomas Ernest Byers was born in 1896 in Tunnack, Tasmania, and was the son of James and Clara Byers. Thomas was educated at Tunnack State School, Tasmania, and before the outbreak of the war he worked as a farm labourer.

Enlisted on November 1, 1916 at Claremont, Tasmania, in the 40th Australian Infantry Battalion, 7th Reinforcement, he embarked with his unit from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A48 Seang Bee, on February 10, 1917 and sailed for England and arrived in Devonport on May 2, 1917 and joined the 10th Training Battalion at Camp number 12 in Durrington.Two months later, on July 28, 1917, Thomas was admitted to Parkhouse Hospital with mumps and was discharged from his training battalion on August 18.A month later, on September 25, 1917, he embarked with his battalion from Southampton and sailed for France and was disembarked the next day, on September 26 at the port of Le Havre.

On October 20, 1917, Thomas and his battalion were sent to the Somme front where he quickly discovered the horrors of war in appalling weather conditions and two months later, on December 2, he was admitted to the hospital suffering from Influenza and after recovering quickly, he was sent back to join his battalion in the Somme,on December 16, in the Albert sector.

Unfortunately, it was in the Somme that three months later, on March 28, 1918, Thomas met his fate and was wounded by a bullet in the head in the Albert sector, probably near Amiens and was immediately evacuated to the 11th Australian Field Ambulance in Franvillers where he died later the same day despite the greatest care, he was 22 years old.

Today, Thomas Ernest Byers rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at the Querrieu British Cemetery, Somme.

Thomas had a brother who also fought in the first world war, Private number 3018 William Byers who served bravely in the 40th Australian Infantry Battalion and survived the war, he returned to Australia on July 4, 1919.
Thomas, you who, through the barbed wire and the battlefields of the Somme, in mud and blood have served your country with honor and fought on these soils of France with the greatest bravery, I would like today, from the bottom of my heart, with respect and gratitude say thank you for all that you and your comrades, your brothers in arms, side by side have done for us who will be eternally grateful to you.young and courageous, you have, with pride and determination, answered the call of duty and joined your friends in the ranks of a generation of united men who walked together with their heads held high on the roads of northern France, through the poppies and under the dark clouds of an uncertain future.Confident and determined, they moved forward despite the weight of the thick sticky mud under their boots, their faith and courage was never broken despite the horrors they endured and in this endless hell, in this war which was hell on earth, they kept their sense of humor and their faith in humanity, their hopes in a better world, they fought together for justice and freedom, for peace and for humanity that this war tried to steal from them under tons of steel and rains of blood under which millions of men who were in the prime of life lived and fell.Under horrible conditions, among rats, lice, in water and blood, they remained united and strong and showed the courage and determination of a whole generation of men who, brave among the brave, without hesitation but with apprehensions, went over the top to face, without protection, the murderous fire of the machine guns and the cannons which poured on them death and destruction through the no man's land on which nothing could survive but, with exceptional bravery, despite their fears in their hearts, they moved forward together united behind their officers and alongside their comrades who, in this hell, shared everything together, the joys and the sorrows, the sufferings of the battlefield and of the war which weighed heavily on their hearts and on their shoulders on which were all the hopes of their loved is together that they fought and it is together that they fell on the battlefields of the Somme where, more than a hundred years later, they rest in peace, together, in the silence and the serenity for which they gave their today for our the fields of poppies, roses and daffodils, They always stand proudly beside the rows of their graves, young and smiling, always alive and present by our side as they will always be because they have never been forgotten and will never be forgotten We will always have in our hearts and in our thoughts the faces of these young boys who did so much for us and for whom, until my last breath I would watch with devotion and the greatest care to make them live , to bring to life their memory and their stories so that they are never forgotten I will always proudly carry the flame of Remembrance in which, forever, their names will live and always have in my heart, all my love and admiration and will be forever, my heroes, my boys of the Somme. Thank you so much Thomas, for all that you and your brother William, your comrades had done for us.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.


Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of James & Clara BYERS
Of Tunnack, Tasmania