Thomas Harvey BORLASE DCM, MID

BORLASE, Thomas Harvey

Service Numbers: 81, 171
Enlisted: 13 October 1914, Sydney, NSW
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 7th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Creswick, Victoria, Australia, 12 October 1867
Home Town: Greta, Cessnock, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Miner
Died: Accidental, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, 27 March 1920, aged 52 years
Cemetery: Sandgate General Cemetery, Newcastle, NSW
Portion: Anglican; Section 74; Lot 27
Memorials: Creswick Honor Roll, North Creswick State School No 2041 Honor Roll
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Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces - Boer War Contingents, Trooper, 81, New South Wales Citizen Bushmen
17 Jun 1902: Honoured Mention in Dispatches
26 Jun 1902: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal

World War 1 Service

13 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Sydney, NSW
20 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 171, 7th Light Horse Regiment, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '2' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Ayrshire embarkation_ship_number: A33 public_note: ''
20 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, 171, 7th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Ayrshire, Sydney
15 May 1916: Discharged AIF WW1

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Story from the Bathhurst Times 1915 06

NOVEMBER REGARDING THOMAS HARVEY BORLASE AND HIS DOG PINCHER ' Pincher ' ...A VETERAN OF GALLIPOLI... THE DOG WHO NEVER BARKED. 'A dog and a soldier are always friends' is a very old asphorism, but the owner of the 'walrus' — for that was what Pincher, a diminutive spaniel of the King Charles variety, looked like when I saw him in England — had not always been a soldier. Many years of his life had been spent in the Australian bush, and a bushman and his horse and dog are boon companions. The little spaniel, with some other four-footed creatures, had known a kind mistress; but when that lady, who happened to be wintering in Egypt, visited the camp of the Australian Expedition Army force at Maadi, for some reason transferred his affections to Sergeant Tom Borlase, of the 7th New South Wales Light Horse. Accepting the inevitable, his mistress graciously gave the dog to the soldier and the two soon became firm friends. Something like a knotty and nasty problem faced this hero, however, when a few weeks later his company received orders to proceed to the Dardanelles.. Army regulations do not permit of a dog accompanying a soldier to the trenches, for obvious reasons. What was to be done? The sergeant did not mean to part with the spaniel. That which he had discovered concerning the wee fellow had not been imparted to anyone else. It was not the first time Borlase had been in a tight corner. IN THE VAN. Nobody saw Pincher jump ashore at Gaba Tepe, but you can take it from me that he was with the veteran Australian when that memorable landing took place. Furthermore, although in visible, he was in the van. Outside of his master's immediate comrades and chums there were not many who knew of Pincher's. presence in the trenches. From the outset the spaniel seemed to realise what was expected of him—indeed he would scent danger quicker than most of the men and promptly hide himself. When trouble threatened otherwise Borlase had merely to cover him up with way thing that was available, and- there the faithful creature remained until he was released, no matter what the length of time might be. PINCHER "DOOMED." One of the first to detect Pincher was Major W ~,who held the sergeant in high esteem and in camp had shown a marked partiality for his pet. 'You will have to get rid of him; Tom, or you will get me into trouble, you know,' he said, shaking his head. 'If ever you hear him make a sound or show himself on top you can kill him forthwith, sir,' was the reply. 'He was never known to bark since I had him, and I will stake my life that he never does’'. The weeks went by ans they -found the soldier and the spaniel inseparable but all the officers: We not as kindly disposed as the Major. Another of them had apparently caught a glimpse of the dog, for Borlase was 'warned,' to get rid of Pincher, and to all intents and purposes the spaniel vanished. Subsequently an order for the removal of the dog was conveyed to the sergeant, and the search party, which was most assiduous in its efforts to locate Pincher, elicited a sad fact. 'You needn't worry,' said Borlase with a glum face,, 'the poor little wretch is in his grave.' The search party did not know then that it was only' a temporary grave. SENTENCE OF DEATH. It may have been a week afterwards that Tom was sharing a meal with Pincher when an officer unexpectedly arrived on the scene. Quick as Pincher and his friends were their movements did not escape the eyes of the captain, and it was with a sad heart that the sergeant awaited the official arrest of his dog. 'No other animal has been so much 'in orders,' ' remarked the colonel, when the resuscitation of Peter had been reported to him, and that night the dread fiat went forth. The spaniel was condemned to death on the morrow, but, however the approach of the 'warrant was heralded in that mysterious manner so well known among military men, and from scores of friends whom Pincher had by this time made, a message was passed back along the line to the effect that a large number of Australians would have to go be fore the dog- went. But not with standing this 'defiance of devotion' every thing presaged that 'in accordance with instructions issued' the 'walrus' would! pass away at noon next day. I am afraid that is final, Tom,” observed the major when he happened to come along; 'I can't do anything more for him.' There was a long pause. Borlase. was too downhearted to speak. 'You must tax your ingenuity,' added the major sympathetically as he moved off. MASCOT IN A BUNDLE. Although Sergeant Tom Borlase was destined in more ways than one~ to fire his last shot that day. as yet he had not done so. Suddenly an inspiration occurred to him, and the coast being clear, he scuttled off along the trench. When he returned a few minutes later he had parted with Pincher, and , in response to the N.C.O. who soon appeared with the warrant, he was able to take his colonial oath that the dog had gone, ' It certainly seemed as if the little spaniel had been a 'mascot' to Borlase, when two hours later a shell burst near the trench and a piece of shell lodged in the sergeant's left hip. As speedily as possible he was conveyed to the clearing hospital, whither a trusty friend brought him a bundle of 1 some sort jus.t prior to his being put on board a mine-sweeper and taken to the hospital ship which) was to take him to Malta. Badly- wounded as he -was. Borlase clung tenaciously to that bundle, one end of which had soon worked open, and disclosed the brown indian rubber nose and quaint little face of Pincher. It matters little how the spaniel and the Spartan reached England. One of the first things incumbent upon a patient entering a military hospital in England is to discard his; clothing for the regulation dress, the whole of his kit is sent to a pack store until such times as he may be fit to receive it again. When the stretcher-bearers had deposited Borlase in bed and the process of changing his apparel was over, the sister on duty in the hut Ward came along, and perceiving- - his great coat, which had apparently fallen to the floor, stopped to pick it up, she was, to say the least, quite, startled at seeing- a slender brown and white spaniel drop out of its folds. 'Don't let them take him away, sister,' pleaded Borlase; 'he's been right through it with me, and you won't fad him a bit of trouble, I promise you.' And Pincher, jumping on the coverlet, extended a tan forepaw and said, 'Shake!' What nurse could have resisted such an appeal as that? Pincher made it back to Austalia with Thomas and in the The Gloucester Advocate (NSW : 1905 - 1954), Wednesday 17 October 1917, page 3 an article is writing explaining the dogs death from a tick bite. This story even made it to the Washington Post USA. Pincher was also met by Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary on visits to Harefield Park Hospital. Queen Alexandra offered to look after Pincher if Thomas was fit enough to return to war. Tom Borlase and Pincher were looked after by nurses Kate and Millie Uren, of Adelaide at Harefield Park Hospital.