Thomas (Brick) BIRCH


BIRCH, Thomas

Service Number: 1516
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Cooktown, Queensland, Australia , 18 September 1889
Home Town: Cairns, Cairns, Queensland
Schooling: Cairns State School Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Ironmonger
Died: Illness, France, 2 December 1918, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension
Section V111, Row 8, Grave No 49,
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cairns Boys' State School, Cairns Cenotaph
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World War 1 Service

29 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 1516, 25th Infantry Battalion
29 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 1516, 25th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Brisbane
3 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 7th Machine Gun Company
17 Jun 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 1516, Gassed
6 Jul 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 1516, 7th Machine Gun Company
11 Aug 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 1516, 7th Machine Gun Company
2 Dec 1918: Involvement Private, SN 1516, 2nd Machine Gun Battalion

Thomas Birch

Thomas Birch was born in Cooktown in 1889, the eldest child of David Birch and Isabella McLeavy. David Birch married Scottish lass Isabella Oliver McLeavy in Cairns 8 Dec 1888. Of their seven children – John Charles (1890), David Temple (1892), James LeFevre (1894), Albert Victor (1896), Agnes Olive (1898) and Annie Bella Ivy (1899) – three enlisted. Thomas on 9 February 1915, James on 29 April 1916 and Albert on 4 December 1916. James and Albert returned to Australia.

Thomas was an Ironmonger when he enlisted in Cairns at the age of 25 and was 5 feet 6 inches in height and weighed 126 pounds. He had a fair complexion with light brown eyes and brown hair. His religion was Church of England. He named his mother, Isabel Birch, Martin St. Cairns as his next of kin. Thomas attended the Cairns State School. Prior to becoming an Ironmonger, Thomas had trained as a Chemists Assistant.

Thomas Birch was wounded in action 3 times including being gassed twice. He succumbed to pneumonia while at the 12 Casualty Clearing Station in France on 2 December 1918. He was buried in the Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Busigny, Cambrai, Nord Pas de Calais, France.
Courtesy of The Cairns District Family History Society.

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