Thomas Lloyd RYAN MM

RYAN, Thomas Lloyd

Service Number: 2204
Enlisted: 4 July 1915
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 17th Infantry Battalion
Born: Emmaville, New South Wales, Australia, 1892
Home Town: Wellingrove, Glen Innes Severn, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Telephone contractor
Died: Killed In Action, Belgium, 20 September 1917
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Glen Innes & District Soldiers Memorial, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient), Wellingrove Public School Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

4 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2204, 17th Infantry Battalion
30 Sep 1915: Involvement Private, 2204, 17th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
30 Sep 1915: Embarked Private, 2204, 17th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Argyllshire, Sydney
2 Mar 1917: Honoured Military Medal
20 Sep 1917: Involvement Second Lieutenant, 17th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres

Help us honour Thomas Lloyd Ryan's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

Thomas had two brothers who served in the AIF. 2nd Lieutenant Charles Francis Ryan 45th Battalion AIF had been killed in action three months prior to Thomas’s death, at Messines on 7 June 1917, aged 30.

Both brothers were mentioned in Beans Volume IV, Thomas on page 776 and Charles on page 662.

A third brother, 3934 Pte Timothy Gross Ryan 20th Battalion AIF was wounded in action twice, a gunshot wound to the back Pozieres during August 1916, and a gunshot wound to the face at Villiers Bretonneux April 1918. At this stage he would have known his two brothers had been killed and he was returned to Australia during late 1918 medically unfit.

All were the sons of Timothy and Sarah Anne Ryan, of Farley, Wellingrove, New South Wales.

Thomas was a telephone contractor from Wellingrove, Glen Innes NSW. A large man, he was six foot three inches and 14 stone (190.50 cm and 90 kg) on enlisting in the 17th Battalion. Thomas transferred to Battalion Bomb Platoon in France on the 2 June 1916, and was wounded in action on the 26 June 1916 after having taken part in raid on the enemy trenches, a gunshot wound to the left arm, (fractured humerous) and a wounded thigh. This raid was undertaken by 9 officers and 73 men of the 5th Brigade with all battalions represented, and led by Captain K.Heritage MC of the 19th Battalion. William Jackson of the 17th Bn was awarded the VC for his gallantry during this raid, mainly for bringing wounded men in. Ryan may well have been one of the wounded Jackson was trying to bring in.

Thomas Ryan was evacuated to England because of his wounds, and didn’t re-join the Battalion until January 1917, where he was quickly promoted to Corporal. He was awarded the Military Medal 31 March 1917. His recommendation states "for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty 2nd March 1917. Took over from Sgt. Pearson when wounded and reorganised the bomb throwers. He threw bombs continuously for over 2 hours. By his coolness courage and daring he kept the enemy in check. This was done after a night’s heavy work consolidating strong points which had been gained."

Thomas Ryan was promoted to Sergeant and then to 2nd Lieutenant from July 1917.

He was killed in action in Belgium at the battle for Menin Road on 20 September 1917. The then CO of the 17th Battalion stated that "It is advised that 2nd Lt.T.L. Ryan M.M. was killed by the burst of a shell on the 20th September 1917 at ANZAC RIDGE. He was not buried by members of this Unit and it is regretted that no further particulars can be supplied concerning this Officer."

The Battalion history noted that in Ryan’s death they had lost one of their finest junior leaders, who had won his commission on the field.

The local paper reported, “…He was a native of Strathbogie, and lived in this district all his life, prior to enlisting. He was an all-round athlete, competing in all the sports gatherings in the district, where his good natured, large-hearted disposition made him a welcome visitor. To those of us who were privileged to work with him in many undertakings, there comes this thought, 'He has left behind him a stainless record, and an example that must inspire to worthy actions long after this cruel war is a matter of history’…”