Service Number: 4765
Enlisted: 2 October 1915, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 26 Infantry Battalion AMF
Born: Walcha, New South Wales, 24 September 1883
Home Town: Walcha, Walcha, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in Action, Butte de Warlencourt, Somme, France, 5 November 1916, aged 33 years
Cemetery: Warlencourt British Cemetery
Warlencourt British Cemetery, Warlencourt-Eaucourt, Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

2 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 4765, Brisbane, Queensland
12 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 4765, 26th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: RMS Mooltan embarkation_ship_number: '' public_note: ''
12 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 4765, 26th Infantry Battalion, RMS Mooltan, Sydney
3 Oct 2016: Involvement 4765, 26 Infantry Battalion AMF, 26th 12 Reinforcements sent to reinforce 2nd division 23/9/1916 entering Etaples 24/9/1916

Thomas Purcell - Walcha Boy

Thomas (Tom) Purcell was born "Orandumby", Walcha to Martin & Catherine Purcell. Thomas was one of 6 brothers who enlisted in WW1, there was 1 sister (my ggrandmother) Alice who stayed at home no doubt fretting. Their mother Catherine died in childbirth leaving Martin raising the kids and no doubt Alice as she grew older become the mother figure.

Thomas was working at the rail camp and residing "Woloon" Ipswich Qld when he enlisted in Brisbane on 2 Oct 1915 aged 28. Embarked from Sydney on the RMS "Mooltan" on 12 Apr 1916 and arrived in England.
After forfeiting 4 days pay for overstaying leave he was shipped overseas to France on 22 Sep 1916 and on 2 Oct Thomas joined the 26th. 5 Nov 1916 he was Killed in Action at Pozieres and his final resting place Warlencourt British Cemetery France.

The war records of Thomas are a bit confusing however it turns out there was a mix up with two soldiers of the same name. It must have been traumatic and the correspondence backwards & forwards continued until 1924 when finally the letter arrived saying his grave was in the Warlencourt British Cemetery. Alice was not accepted as next of kin because of being female therefore not allowed to receive her brother's medals also not allowed to put an inscription on his grave. Two other brothers William Purcell was in Gallipoli and Martin Joseph Purcell was injured in France, her brother in laws Frederick Arthur Roper had been killed and Wiliam Edward Roper was fighting with the 1st Battalion 6th Reinforcements.

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