Thomas William O'NEILL

O'NEILL, Thomas William

Service Number: QX15772
Enlisted: 3 September 1941
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/12th Field Ambulance
Born: Wolfram Camp, Queensland, Australia , 29 May 1905
Home Town: Gordonvale, Cairns, Queensland
Schooling: Gordonvale State School
Occupation: Ambulance Bearer
Died: Killed in Action, At sea (off Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), 14 May 1943, aged 37 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Gold Coast - AHS Centaur Memorial, Gordonvale War Memorial, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital Centaur Wing, Sydney Memorial (Sydney War Cemetery) Rookwood
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Private, QX15772
3 Sep 1941: Enlisted
3 Sep 1941: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, QX15772, 2nd/12th Field Ambulance
14 May 1943: Discharged

Thomas William O'Neill

Thomas William O'Neill was born at Wolfram Camp, Qld, on 29 May 1905, the son of William and Elizabeth Cottis O'Neill nee Taylor. He was left an orphan at an early age. Tom, as he was called, was then brought up by his uncle and aunt, James and Edith O'Neill. After attending Gordonvale State Primary School, Tom became a farm hand. After further study, Tom joined the staff of the Gordonvale Ambulance as a Bearer. On 18 Aug 1927, Tom married Nancy Gordon. Sadly, they lost baby James Thomas O'Neill, the same year. Tom was a popular MC at many of the local dances and was on a number of sporting committees. At the age of 36, he enlisted in the A.I.F. in Cairns on 03 Sep 1941, Service No: QX15772, 2/12 Field Ambulance. Tragically, less than two years later, Tom "drowned as a result of enemy action" on 14 May 1943. He was one of the 268 individuals who did not survive when the hospital ship 'Centaur' was bombed by the Japanese. He left a widow, Nancy, and two children.
Tom is memorialised on the headstone of his wife, Nancy, and infant son James, both buried together in the Gordonvale Cemetery.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of William and Elizabeth O'Neill; husband of Nancy O'Neill, of Gordonvale, Queensland

A gloom was cast over the town of Gordonvale, when word was received that Cpl Thomas William O'Neill was lost in the hospital ship Centaur, which was torpedoed near Brisbane last Friday morning. The late Cpl. Thomas O'Neill was born at Wolfram Camp on May 29, 1905 and was left an orphan at an early age. His uncle. Mr. James O'Neill took care of him, and Tom made his home with his uncle and aunt, the late Edith O'Neill. He recieved  his education at the Gordonvale State School and after leaving school took on farm work. He later studied first aid and qualified with great success.  Prior to his enlisting he. was attached to the staff of the Gordonvale Ambulance.  During his life he connected with many sports committees and was a very popular MC at the local dances. The late Thomas O'Neill leaves a widow and two children.