Astley John Onslow THOMPSON VD, MID

THOMPSON, Astley John Onslow

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 15 August 1914
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 4th Infantry Battalion
Born: Glamorgan, Wales, 3 January 1865
Home Town: Menangle, Wollondilly, New South Wales
Schooling: Rugby Public School
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Killed In Action, Gallipoli, 26 April 1915, aged 50 years
Cemetery: 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery
Row A, Grave 11
Memorials: Commercial Banking Company of Sydney WW1 Honour Roll, Menangle Pictorial Roll of Honour No 2
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World War 1 Service

15 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, Officer, 4th Infantry Battalion
20 Oct 1914: Involvement 4th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
20 Oct 1914: Embarked 4th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
25 Apr 1915: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, ANZAC / Gallipoli, Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 28 October 1915 on page 2736 at position 34. London Gazette on 5 August 1915 on page 7668 at position 32
26 Apr 1915: Involvement 4th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli

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Biography contributed by Carol Foster

Address at the time of enlistment was Camden Park, Menangie, NSW

Son of Astley and Udea Thompson. Next of kin was given as his brother I. W. Onslow Thompson of Singleton, NSW

Medals: MID, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal previously awarded the medal VD

Played school rugby

Also served in the NSW Mounted Rifles for 22 years and the Australian LIght Horse

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Astley was the son of Astley and Udea Mary Ann Moriarty Thompson (Nee Onslow), of Glyn Abbey, Pontyates, Carmarthenshire.

He was given command of the 4th Battalion following its formation and led the battalion ashore at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915.

He was killed during an abortive advance on the following day, when he attempted to cross the Daisy Patch. He was buried in the walls of a trench by his men, but after the war the fifty year old’s body was re-interred in the 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery.

Throughout the states of Australia the call to arms began at the outbreak of war, and dozens of new battalions were formed to create an Australian Imperial Force. The city of Sydney was the centre point for the formation on 17 August 1914 of the 4th Infantry Battalion, which was raised at Randwick Racecourse, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Astley John Onslow Thompson, VD. There was quite a strong tie to Wales with the 4th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, or Fighting Fourth. The battalion’s original commander, Lieutenant Colonel Astley John Onslow Thompson, VD was a Carmarthenshire man, from the small mining town of Pontyates; at least twelve men of the battalion who fell during the course of the war were from Wales.

April 26th.           General advance and subsequent withdrawal to original line. Lieutenant Colonel Astley John Onslow Thompson killed in action. Major Charles Melville MacNaghten wounded, and command devolved on Major D. Storey.

In addition to having been mentioned in Sir Ian Hamilton’s Gallipoli despatches, he was awarded the VD-The Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration,  which was established in 1899 as recognition for long and meritorious service as a part-time commissioned officer in any of the organized military forces of the British Colonies, Dependencies and Protectorates.