Thomas Leslie (Tom) AXFORD VC, MM

AXFORD, Thomas Leslie

Service Numbers: 3399, W18283
Enlisted: 9 August 1915, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: HQ Western Command Army Service Corps (AMF)
Born: Carrieton, South Australia , 18 June 1894
Home Town: Mount Hawthorn, Vincent, Western Australia
Schooling: Coolgardie Public School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Natural causes, Perth, Western Australia, 11 October 1983, aged 89 years
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery & Crematorium, Perth, W.A.
MC Section A 0079
Memorials: Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, Mount Hawthorn War Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

9 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3399, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
1 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3399, 16th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
1 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3399, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Benalla, Fremantle
11 Aug 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 3399, 16th Infantry Battalion, Pozières, Shell shock
10 Aug 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 3399, 16th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, Shell wound (left knee)
14 Feb 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 16th Infantry Battalion
4 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 3399, 16th Infantry Battalion, Le Hamel - Blueprint for Victory
14 Jul 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 16th Infantry Battalion
6 Feb 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 3399, 16th Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

25 Jun 1941: Involvement Sergeant, SN W18283
25 Jun 1941: Enlisted Perth, WA
25 Jun 1941: Enlisted Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Sergeant, SN W18283, Perth, Western Australia
14 Apr 1947: Discharged Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Sergeant, SN W18283, HQ Western Command Army Service Corps (AMF)
14 Apr 1947: Discharged

Victoria Cross Recommendation

It is recommended for the very highest distinction for his very conspicuous gallantry and initiative during the operations against VAIRE and HAMEL Woods, East of CORBIE, on the morning of the 4th July 1918.
When the barrage lifted and the Infantry advance commenced, the platoon of which AXFORD is a member was able to reach the first enemy defences through gaps which had been cut in the wires. The adjoining platoon got delayed in un-cut barbed wire. This delay enabled the enemy machine guns to get into action, and enabled them to inflict a number of casualties among the men struggling through the wires including the Company Commander who was killed. AXFORD, with great initiative and magnificent courage at once dashed to the flank, threw his bombs amongst the machine gun crews; followed up his bombs by jumping into the trench, and charging with his bayonet. Unaided he killed ten of the enemy and took 6 prisoners; he threw the machine guns over the parapet, and called out to come one. He then rejoined his own platoon, and fought with it during the remainder of the operations. Prior to the incidents above mentioned he had assisted in the laying out of the tapes for the jumping off position, which was within 100 yards of the enemy. When the tapes were laid he remained out as a special patrol to ensure that the enemy did not discover any unusual movement on our side. His initiative and gallantry undoubtedly saved many casualties, and most materially assisted towards the complete success of his Company in the task assigned to it.

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Biography

Son of Walter Richard AXFORD and Margaret Ann nee McQUILLAN

"Tom Axford (1894-1983) was born in South Australia but grew up in Coolgardie, Western Australia. At the time of his enlistment he was working in Kalgoorlie. Axford arrived in France in 1916 and was treated for shell-shock in August. A year later he received shrapnel wounds and was out of action for four months. In 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal, but his finest hour came in July that year.

During the battle of Hamel, Axford assisted an adjoining platoon by attacking an enemy machine-gun position with bombs and bayonet, killing ten Germans and capturing six, allowing the platoon to come forward and join him in the advance. Of his action he later commented, "I must have been mad". He was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Axford served in a headquarters unit in Western Australia during the Second World War. In his civilian life he was a clerk and a businessman." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)

 

Axford died on 11th October 1983 while returning from the 13th VC and GC Reunion aged 89 years.

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