Thomas MacNair HARVEY

HARVEY, Thomas MacNair

Service Number: 1169
Enlisted: 21 May 1915
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 7th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America, 10 January 1893
Home Town: Yass, Yass Valley, New South Wales
Schooling: Kings College, Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Station Hand, Bank Officer
Died: Killed in Action, Gaza, Palestine, 16 May 1917, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Gaza War Cemetery, Israel and Palestine (including Gaza)
Plot XX F 7
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Officers of the Bank of NSW Yass Branch Pictorial Honour Roll, Yass & District WW1 Roll of Honour, Yass St Andrew's Honor Roll
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World War 1 Service

21 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1169, 7th Light Horse Regiment
28 Jul 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 1169, 7th Light Horse Regiment, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '2' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Suffolk embarkation_ship_number: A23 public_note: ''
3 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, 1169, 7th Light Horse Regiment, Battle of Romani
26 Mar 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, 1169, 7th Light Horse Regiment, Battles of Gaza
16 May 1917: Involvement Trooper, 1169, 7th Light Horse Regiment, Egypt and Palestine - Light Horse and AFC Operations, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 1169 awm_unit: 7th Australian Light Horse Regiment awm_rank: Trooper awm_died_date: 1917-05-16

Local Tribute to Thomas MacNair Harvey in the Yass Courier 31 May 1917

By all their country's wishes blest !
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a holier sod,
Than e'er before man's feet have trod.
By angel hands their knell is runs ;
By forms unseen their dirge is sung ;
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray'
To bless the turf that wraps their clay ;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To weep o'er hero lying there.

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Thomas McNair HARVEY (1893 - 1917)

From Trove - Yass Courier 9 August 1917
While engaged with his troop reconnoitering a position held by the enemy, Trooper Tom Harvey was killed in action on 16th May last. Somewhere near the road "by which " as the Old Book states " thou goest down to Egypt,"

In Memoriam - Trooper Tom. Harvey The following impressive panegyric was pronounced by the Rev. A. J. Doig, B.A., at the Presbyterian Church last Sunday night to a large congregation:

"For God, his King and Country Trooper Thomas Macnair Harvey, of the 7th Regiment, Australian Light Horse Regiment, laid down his life in Palestine, on the 16th May, 1917, at the age of 24 years.

Brief, comprehensive and direct, we might well allow these words to stand as the epitaph of a good soldier, who, his battles over, has passed to his reward."

Known better to the majority of us as Tom Harvey, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Harvey, of "Blackburn Hall,”, and brother of Mrs. H. Clements of Glasgow, he won his way without effort into the affection of a wide circle of friends by the attractiveness of an open and kindly disposition, to which were joined the qualities of Holiest manliness and a wai in heart, he came to this country a boy of four years of age, and when at times the praise of America, the land of his birth, was sung, it proved no siren song—in his own words “Australia was good enough."

I first ‘came into contact with him 12 years ago ; and learned to think highly of him as he grew up in the home around which his dearest recollections gathered, and to which he fondly' turned in thought from wherever the duties of later years took him.

He was a true son, full of affection for his parents and sister, and to honour them was a claim he gladly accepted as a supreme duty.

He was educated at King’s College, Goulburn, a school which by reason of the number of its past students who have enlisted for active Service stands, in proportion to its roll, exceptionally high amongst the educational institutions of this country.

On leaving school he spent four years in the service of the Bank of New South Wales, and then went to Melong Station, in the district of Young, to gain pastoral experience.

Testimony has come from his headmaster and old schoolmates, from the managers of branches of the Bank, and from many he came into contact with in places in which he was stationed, of the esteem, regard and affection in which he was universally held.

One who felt privileged to be his friend, writing back from the camp in England in which he was training, refers to him as “a great pal"; speaks of the influence for good he exercised among those who were their mutual friends.

I had the pleasure of admitting him to full membership in this congregation in 1910. I well recall the fine manly way in which he replied to the questions 1 put to him upon the significance of taking Communion.

Tom Harvey rang true all the way and I, who say this, am proud to have held his personal respect and esteem.

When war broke out in August 1914, Mr and Mrs Harvey were on their way to England, and when the conditions brought about by the war led them to returnto Australia in March of 15, they found their son anxious to obtain their consent to his enlisting.

To him, in view of all the circumstances it was a difficult decision; to them consent meant the tearing of heart which has befallen to many within the last three years; but son and parents proved worthy of each other and they gave him as readily as he offered himself in the great cause of his country. We recall the noble lines of Wordsworth’s Ode “ The Happy Warrior.”

He enlisted on the 21st May 1915, trained in Egypt, and had arrived at Lemnos on his way to Gallipoli, keen to join that gallant band of brothers of deathless memory who served in that terrible campaign.  But this hope was disappointed by the evacuation, and he returned with his regiment to Egypt.

Here he entered on the long and arduous service east of Suez, and throughout the Sinai Peninsula campaign, to most of us unknown because hardly reported in its details, and for this reason justice has never been done to the men who endured such regions of desert, marches and long patrols, frequent shortage of food and drink, outpost encounters and heavy battles, which give them full right to stand on equal basis of honourand glory, with their brothers who have fought so valiantly on the fields of Europe

Despite the stress and strain and desperate weariness of body and spirit all trials were met in a true soldierly fashion and no word of complaint was ever penned in a letter written by Trooper Tom Harvey.

He took part in the battles which marked the advance through El Arish, Rafa, Romani, till after the heavy fighting against superior forces at Gaza, the Egyptian Expedition was temporarily brought to halt, but not before it had completely routed the Turks from the whole of the Sinai Peninsula—a truly great achievement.

While engaged with his troop reconnoitering a position held by the enemy, Trooper Tom Harvey was killed in action on 16th May last. Somewhere near the road "by which " as tbe Old Book states " thou goest down to Egypt," the road along which caravans have moved for thousands of years of history, this brave soul of Australia surrendered his life.

He died in the arms of one who is also a member of this congregation, the friend and comrade who shared with him all dangers and difficulties from the time they enlisted, his body laid by loving hands reposes in that old land of many sacred memories, now for us rendered still more sacred by the blood of our own brethren poured out so freely for the welfare of their friends. It was the Great Master declared Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends."

One of his commanding officers writes. '' he was a brave and willing soldier, and he is a great loss to my troop where he was very popular. I always looked upon him as one of my most reliable boys."

Brigadier General Ryrie wrote to his father from Headquarters, 2nd I„.H. Brigade, somewhere in Palestine: " His death is greatly regretted by his officers and comrades as he was held in high esteem by all who knew him."

Such is the record of duty nobly undertaken and gloriously completed, a story shining in the supremely fine qualities of the human spirit; a story of which every true man might well be proud if it were his own; every father and mother if it were that of their son.

We meet here to-night to express our sense of its greatness in the valour, courage and patriotism which distinguished our friend and fellow member. We meet to honour the memory of a brave soldier who has given his life for us : by whose life and death of unselfish service we are still free to enjoy the blessings of our civilisation in freedom and with free institutions; aye, and the blessings of life itself, in security and comfort.

We meet to sympathise with those who have lost one dearly beloved, to honour them for the spirit in which they have made this precious offering on the altar of then country and its cause, to pray for them the strength and comfort of God. We meet to draw inspiration from the sad, yet glorious sacrifices of men' of dauntless and unconquerable hearts; and, as a religious act, we pay our tribute of esteem and love to their memory.

Their graves are far away but theirs memory and the story of their  service are ours to love and to cherish, and we must never, never forget! "He died unnoticed." Nay, God was with him and he did not blench. Filled him with holy fires that nought could quench ! And when he saw his work below was done, He gently called to him—" My Son, My Son I need thee for a greater work than this. Thy faith, thy zeal, the fine activities Are worthy of my larger liberties ", Then drew him with the hand of welcoming grace, And, side by side, they climbed the heavenly ways !


Edited  / corrected by Steve Larkins 1 Dec 20