Ernest Archibald THOMAS

Badge Number: 37514

THOMAS, Ernest Archibald

Service Number: 5846
Enlisted: 3 May 1916
Last Rank: Sapper
Last Unit: 3rd Tunnelling Company (inc. 6th Tunnelling Company)
Born: Blinnam, South Australia, 30 September 1876
Home Town: Torrensville, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Adelaide, South Australia, 1 October 1932, aged 56 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: AIF Cemetery, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia
Section: LO, Road: 2S, Site No: 18
Memorials: Blinman & District WW1 Roll of Honor, Blinman Boer War, WW1 & WW2 Honour Rolls
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World War 1 Service

3 May 1916: Enlisted
25 Oct 1916: Involvement Sapper, 5846, Tunnelling Companies
25 Oct 1916: Embarked Sapper, 5846, Tunnelling Companies, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
11 Nov 1918: Involvement Sapper, 5846
31 Dec 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Sapper, 5846, 3rd Tunnelling Company (inc. 6th Tunnelling Company), MD

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From How We Served

5846 Sapper Ernest Archibald Thomas of Torrensville, South Australia had been employed as a labourer when he enlisted for War Service on the 3rd of May 1916 and was allocated to reinforcements for the Australian Tunnelling Company 1st AIF.

Ernest was shipped to England, leaving Australia on the 25th of October, and arrived at Plymouth on the 28th of December. Marched out to the Australian training camp at Folkstone, Ernest would be sent across to France on the 28th of January 1917. Following his arrival Ernest was officially taken on strength with the 3rd Tunnelling Company in the field on the 6th of February 1917, and from the time of his arrival his service would only be interrupted by periods of slight sickness, from which he recovered each time to be deemed still fit for further service.

However by the start of 1918 Ernest’s healthy gradually declined, with his being evacuated from the lines for hospitalisation for general myalgia on the 25th of February then whilst in convalesces at Etaples Ernest was again medically reclassed as suffering from trench fever but by the 8th of April, Ernest had managed to again be sent back to his unit in the field. This would be his last time in France, as within three weeks of his returning to duty, Ernest was again sent away for medical treatment as suffering laryngitis and rheumatism, and from France he was returned to England on the 19th of June for his repatriation to Australia as an invalid.

Ernest left for Australia on the 24th of August, and after having arrived back he received his official discharge from the 1st AIF on the 31st of December 1918. Ernest was re-entered into civilian life, but his War service amidst the conditions he served through would cause him reoccurring bouts of ill health and on the 1st of October 1932 Ernest premature death occurred at the age of 56.

Following his passing Ernest was formally laid to rest within West Terrace Cemetery, South Australia.