Service Number: 995
Enlisted: 25 March 1916, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 42nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Branch Creek, Queensland, Australia, 21 October 1895
Home Town: Samson Vale, Moreton Bay, Queensland
Schooling: Clear Mountain School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 13 October 1917, aged 21 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Brisbane 42nd Infantry Battalion AIF Roll of Honour, Kallangur Pine Rivers Memorial Gates, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient), Pine Shire Council Roll of Honour, Samford War Memorial, Strathpine District Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

25 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 995, 41st Infantry Battalion, Brisbane, Queensland
18 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 995, 41st Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '18' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Demosthenes embarkation_ship_number: A64 public_note: ''
18 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 995, 41st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Demosthenes, Sydney
13 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 995, 42nd Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres

Help us honour Albert Elihu Thistlethwaite's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Albert Elihu Thistlethwaite aged 20 years when he enlisted. He was the sixth child of Arthur Thistlethwaite and Emily Gayner. Albert attended Clear Mountain School. His family was farmers in the district. He was killed in action on 13 October 1917. He had three brothers who enlisted
they returned home, Richard Dickson [5484], Louis Victor [4790] and William Arthur [1987] Thistlethwaite.


Biography contributed by Ian Lang

THISTLETHWAITE Albert Elihu  #995 41st / 42nd Battalion / 11th Machine Gun Company


Bert Thistlethwaite was one of four sons of Arthur and Emily Thistlethwaite of Samsonvale. He reported he had been born at Branch Creek and attended Clear Mountain State School. By the time Bert enlisted his three brothers, Lewis, William and Richard had already joined up. Bert’s enlistment papers show his enlistment date as 25th March 1916 but he stated he had previously been rejected due to a slight hearing defect. At the time he was 20 years old, a farmer of Samsonvale. He was a well built young man standing 5’10” tall.


Bert spent some time in a depot battalion as Enoggera before being allocated as an original member of the 41nd Battalion. He embarked on the “Demosthenes” in Sydney on 18th May 1916, allotting 3/- to his mother. Bert landed in Plymouth on 20th July and was transferred to the 42nd Battalion (perhaps to be with one of his brothers) just before being deployed to France in November.


In February 1917, Bert reported to a Field Ambulance with blistered feet. A later notation states scalding. This was probably an attempt to thaw out frozen feet that went wrong. After a period in a rest camp he was back in the lines by April.


June of 1917 was the opening of the Passchendaele campaign in Flanders. The 42nd Battalion played a part in the advance and consolidation at Messines. On 28th September Bert was taken on strength by the 11th Machine Gun Company. Bert’s time with the MG Company would be short and lively. The day after joining the company in billets at Poperinghe, a bombing raid by German aircraft caused 36 casualties, 11 killed. Bert’s first action was on 5th October at Polygon Wood. The following action at Broodseinde on 13th October did not go well. The company lost 16 killed, 15 wounded, 12 gassed. In addition 9 mules were lost and 3 Vickers machine guns on their limbers were abandoned in the mud. A company roll call indicated that Bert was missing, later amended to Killed in Action. There was no notation regarding burial and Bert became one of the almost 60,000 killed in Flanders with no known grave.

The few items of a personal nature that were returning to his family were lost at sea when the “Barunga” was sunk by a torpedo. The effects of two other Strathpine men were also lost in the same incident.


Albert Thistlethwaite is commemorated on the tablets of the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. His name shares the space with the names of two other Strathpine men, George Stanley and David Mead. All three were killed within two days of each other at Broodseinde.

To honour the sacrifice of these men, the citizens of Ypres have held a memorial ceremony at the Menin Gate every evening, which includes the laying of wreaths and the playing of the last post.