Thomas Anderson (Snow) WHYTE

WHYTE, Thomas Anderson

Service Number: 47
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Unley, South Australia, Australia, 19 February 1886
Home Town: Hyde Park, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Agent for Adelaide Steamship Co.
Died: Died of wounds, Gallipoli, Turkey, 25 April 1915, aged 29 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Died on the hospital ship HMAT Gascon - buried at sea.
Memorials: Adelaide Grand Masonic Lodge WW1 Honour Board (2), Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide Rowing Club WW1 Pictorial Honour Board, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Largs North Port Adelaide Sailing Club Roll of Honor, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Rosewater Womens Memorial Roll of Honour WW1, Unley Arch of Remembrance, Unley Town Hall WW1 Honour Board, Woodville Saint Margaret's Anglican Church Lych Gate
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 47, Morphettville, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 47, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '10' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Ascanius embarkation_ship_number: A11 public_note: ''

20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 47, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 47, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
25 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli

AWM Tribute - Last Post Ceremony 25 April 2014 read by Corporal Daniel Kieran, VC

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Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Thomas Anderson Whyte.

Tom Whyte was born in Unley, South Australia. Little is known of his family or his early life, but Tom grew up to be a prominent South Australian sportsman. He was a successful lacrosse player, playing a number of interstate matches for South Australia between 1908 and 1912. However, it was as a rower that he was best known, beginning quietly with the Mercantile Rowing Club in 1903 before developing several years later into a particularly successful crew member. He represented South Australia in team events in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney and became a popular member of the Adelaide Rowing Club. It was reported that there was "no doubt that Tom Whyte was one of the best oarsmen South Australia ever produced".

Whyte enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force within weeks of the outbreak of war. He was posted to the 10th Battalion with many of his mates from the Adelaide Rowing Club. He left Adelaide in October of that year, and arrived in Egypt for further training before being sent to Gallipoli. While in Egypt he participated in rowing races where possible and enjoyed joking with his mates. The photograph on display beside the Pool of Reflection today is of Whyte and a fellow member of the Adelaide Rowing Club, Lance Rhodes, sitting on the Great Pyramid at Gaza.

The 10th Battalion was among the first formations to land on Gallipoli in the early hours of 25 April 1915. Private Tom Whyte volunteered to row one of the boats ashore. His good friend Arthur Blackburn, who would receive the Victoria Cross the following year, wrote:

"...the most dangerous position of the lot was that of the men who were rowing, as they of course could take no shelter. They could not even crouch down in the boat, but were compelled to sit up and row. The dangers of such a task were so apparent that officers hesitated to order men to expose themselves to the work of rowing. Tom immediately grasped the situation, and, as everyone knew he would, volunteered his services as a rower."

Blackburn said that Whyte "was joking and laughing all the way to shore", but as the boat pulled up on the shingle Tom slipped over to the side, and it was realised that he had been seriously wounded. He had been shot through the pelvis. Although he was taken to a hospital ship for immediate treatment, he died on the way to
Alexandria. Blackburn wrote, "the poor fellow was killed before he had fired a single shot, but there is no doubt that it was largely due to the courage and endurance of Tom and his fellow-rowers in all the boats that everyone was landed with the minimum of loss".

Thomas Whyte was buried at sea somewhere between Gallipoli and Alexandria. He was 29 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Thomas Anderson Whyte, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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Thomas Anderson Whyte

See this link to an AWM blog addressing letters home by Tom Whyte to his fiancee Eileen Champion - Letters Home (

Private (later Lance Corporal) Tom Whyte was a 28 year old agent from Hyde Park, South Australia when he enlisted on 19 August 1914.    

He was a highly rated athlete both as a lacrosse player and a rower having represented his State in competition.  He was well known as an Adelaide Rowing Club identity.  His occupation was listed as ‘agent' and his place of residence Hyde Park in Adelaide's inner south.    Like many men of the time he had prior service under the "Universal Training system" in his case thee years in the SA Scottish Infantry.

At the time of his embarkation, he was engaged to be married to Eileen Wallace Champion.  He corresponded with her on a very frequent basis and his letters home are now held by the AWM  (see link in sidebar). He listed a brother as his next of kin.

Enlisted as a member of the 10th Battalion, he joined the 'A' Company 'Scouts'.  These men were designated as 'skirmishers' to take the lead in any Battalion advance or attack. 

He embarked for service overseas with his comrades from Adelaide on 20 October 1914 aboard HMAT Ascanius. He was wounded in action while acting as an oarsman on one of the first boats ashore during the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.  He did not make it out of the boat unassisted, and was evacuated and died that same day aboard HMT Gascon.

Because he was buried at sea, his name appears on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli.

A member of the Adelaide Rowing Club, his portrait also appears on their honour board of those who enlisted for active service in the First World War (P07159.095).

Thomas Anderson Whyte is immortalised as one of the "Flowers of the Forest" - a group of nine young men photographed together in Egypt, who had enlisted into the 10th Battalion, trained together as part of the Battalion Scouts and who were among the first ashore at Gallipoli, charged with striking inland as far and as fast as they could go.

Their group photograph was taken in Egypt before they embarked for Gallipoli. Tom was older than most of the others although he and Philip Robin were of similar age (late twenties).

The group of nine suffered grievously and within days four, including Tom Whyte, were dead.  Another, Wilfred Jose, was subsequently commissioned but was fated to die two years later in France.  Two more, Arthur  Blackburn and John Gordon were also commissioned and went on to be decorated for bravery;  in Blackburn's case the Victoria Cross and in John Gordon's, the Military Cross.   Blackburn went on to serve ith distinction in public life and in WW2.  John Gordon also served as a senior office but in the RAAF, during WW2.  Another, Eric Meldrum was also to become a casualty after the war and the last, Guy Fisher went on to serve in the British Army and in later life a lawyer and judge.  Two of their number ( Phil Robin and Arthur Blackburn) were credited by Charles Bean as having reached the farthest inland of any of the attacking troops. 

Tom Whyte's story is most eloquently told in the address that accompanied the Last Post Ceremony at the AWM on ANZAC Day 2014, read by Corporal Daniel Kieran, VC.  It is transcribed in the associated story panel. Footage of the ceremony is available at the AWM site via the link in the sidebar.

The Flowers of the Forest;

Arthur BLACKBURN (/explore/people/930)

Guy FISHER (/explore/people/373586)

John GORDON (/explore/people/198723)

Wilfid JOSE (/explore/people/173634)

Eric MELDRUM (/explore/people/55797)

Philip ROBIN (/explore/people/9135)

Francis STOKES (/explore/people/60171)

Malcolm TEASEDALE-SMITH (/explore/people/190689)

Thomas WHYTE (/explore/people/170704)


In memory of my comrades of the 10th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, Signaller J. L. Lewis (cousin) Lance-Corporal P. de Q. Robin, Privates T. A. Whyte, F. H. Stokes, M. T. Smith, and G. V. S. Morphett, killed in action at Anzac, Gallipoli, on or about the 25th April, 1915.— J.R. Gordon, Lieutenant.

Family Notices. (1916, April 25). The Register (Adelaide, SA: 1901 - 1929), p. 4. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from



Lest we forget

Steve Larkins July 2014