Year of Birth: 1889
Place of Birth: Cooktown, Queensland
Date of Enlistment: 9 February 1915
Date and Place of Embarkation: 29 June 1915, Brisbane, Queensland
Ship: HMAT Aeneas A60
Unit(s): 25 Infantry Battalion; 1 to 8 Reinforcements; 2nd Machine Gun Battalion
Regimental Number: 1516
Died: 2 December 1918
Private Thomas Birch – photo courtesy RSL Virtual War Memorial
Thomas Birch was born in Cooktown in 1889, the eldest child of David Birch and Isabella McLeavy. David Birch married Scottish lass Isabella Oliver McLeavy in Cairns 8 Dec 1888. Of their seven children – John Charles (1890), David Temple (1892), James LeFevre (1894), Albert Victor (1896), Agnes Olive (1898) and Annie Bella Ivy (1899) – three enlisted. Thomas on 9 February 1915, James on 29 April 1916 and Albert on 4 December 1916. James and Albert returned to Australia.
Thomas was an Ironmonger when he enlisted in Cairns at the age of 25 and was 5 feet 6 inches in height and weighed 126 pounds. He had a fair complexion with light brown eyes and brown hair. He religion was Church of England. He named his mother, Isabel Birch, Martin St. Cairns as his next of kin. Thomas attended the Cairns State School. Prior to becoming an Ironmonger, Thomas had trained as a Chemists Assistant.
Thomas Birch was wounded in action 3 times including being gassed twice. He succumbed to pneumonia while at the 12 Casualty Clearing Station in France on 2 December 1918. He was buried in the Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Busigny, Cambrai, Nord Pas de Calais, France.
HMAT Aeneas A60 – photo courtesy Australian War Memorial
Northern Herald (Cairns) – 25 June 1915 p 26- Pte T Birch seated at right
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