Thomas Malcolm RETALLACK

Poppy

RETALLACK, Thomas Malcolm

Service Number: 1975
Enlisted: 10 April 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Forster, South Australia, 1 June 1890
Home Town: Forster, Mid Murray, South Australia
Schooling: Forster Public School
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Died of wounds, Messines, Belgium, 10 June 1917, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Kandahar Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Loxton Soldiers Memorial Rotunda, Mannum War Memorial, Swan Reach War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

10 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1975, 50th Infantry Battalion, Adelaide, South Australia
13 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1975, 50th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
13 Jul 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1975, 50th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Adelaide
10 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1975, 50th Infantry Battalion, Messines

(Thomas) Malcolm Retallack

Thomas Malcolm Retallack
Malcolm (Thomas) Retallack was the fifth child of John and Margaret, born June the 1st, 1890 in the Hundred of Forster, in the Mid Murray, South Australia. His older siblings were William (1883), Walter (1884), Alfred (1887), and Annie (Margaret) (1888). His three younger siblings were Caroline (1892), Hugh (1895) and Gertrude (1897). The children were typical Cornish, being of short stature. In the early days the family lived in a tent, with the oldest son, William aged eight earning his living by minding stock, then aged 12 carting stone from Lower Mitcham to Adelaide for the construction of Government House in the city.
On one occasion, visiting his uncle and aunt, William and Adelaide Retallack, while on the way to a Golden wedding celebration at Minburra, Malcolm and the other children gathered gum from the wattle trees. One of the children took an enormous bite of the gum which subsequently became stuck in his teeth. There was nothing that could be done in the short term but wait for the gum to soften overnight!
Malcolm resided in the Hundred of Forster until he moved with his parents to Swan Reach. He was highly popular with all people and a member of the Methodist Church, in the Forster circuit. Just before the war he and his brother, commenced farming operations at Loxton, from where he enlisted with his brother, George (Walter) to serve their country. George was 31 at the time, and served in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment. Malcolm, aged 26 served in the 50th Infantry Battalion.
Malcolm embarked with the 3rd Reinforcements from Adelaide on 13 July 1916 aboard HMAT Seang Bee (A48) for Plymouth, England. Less than five months after this and within 14 months of enlisting, Malcolm was wounded in action near Messines, Belgium, on 10 June 1917 and died of these wounds later that day. He was aged 27 years.
In his last letter to his parents he said he was positive that a belief in God keeps a. man from being a coward, and enables him to do his duty.
Hi parents and sister commemorated his death in the Adelaide Observer with the following tribute:
When the flags are o'er the roadway
And the troops come marching home,
O, God, have pity on the watching ones
Whose boy will never come.

Similarly, his brother and sister in law honoured his life with:
He has sailed on his last commission
In a beautiful ship called Rest; He was just an Australian hero,
One of God's bravest and best.
.
His sacrifice is commemorated at The Adelaide War Memorial, the Loxton Memorial Rotunda and the Mannum Memorial.
This tribute was written by Kaye Lee, Granddaughter of Blanche Cummings (Retallack)

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Biography

Thomas Malcolm RETALLACK was born on 1st June, 1890 at Head of Foster, South Australia

His parents were John RETALLACK and Margaret McDONALD

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"...1975 Pte Thomas Malcolm Retallack, 50th Battalion. A farmer from Loxton, South Australia, prior to enlistment, he embarked with the 3rd Reinforcements from Adelaide on 13 July 1916 aboard HMAT Seang Bee (A48) for Plymouth, England. Following training in England he proceeded to the Western Front, France, and joined his battalion near Longueval in late January 1917. Pte Retallack was wounded in action near Messines, Belgium, on 10 June 1917 and died of these wounds later that day. He was aged 27 years. His older brother, 3077 Trooper (Tpr) Walter George Retallack, enlisted in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment and served in Egypt from March 1917 until the end of the war." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)

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