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Thomas Henry Markham (MM)

Lance Corporal

Serial No:
Serial No. 4194

20th Battalion


Thomas Henry Markham (MM) - Information

When Thomas decided to serve his country, he was living with his family on Reagent St in Junee. Born in Liverpool in 1887, Thomas was the oldest child of Alfred and Emily Markham. Thomas spent his childhood years in the Ingleburn area with his siblings and attended Superior Public School. After the family moved to Junee, Thomas began working as a labourer. He enlisted in the AIF in Cootamundra on the 1st of October 1915, aged 28. Shortly after this, his younger brother, Alfred, also signed up. They were both posted to reinforcements of the 20th Battalion. Thomas was sent abroad upon the HMAT Orsova, which departed Sydney Harbour on the 11th of March 1916.

The Orsova sailed to Egypt, and Thomas was then transported the Western Front in France in May. Leaving the 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, he reached the 20th Battalion in the lines in early August. At the time, the 20th Battalion were engaged in heavy combat with the Germans at Pozières during the Somme Campaign. In October, Thomas reunited with his brother, Alfred, in Belgium. However, the following month they were brought back south for attacks in the Somme Sector. They participated in an assault at Flers on the 14th of November. Heavy rains had turned the battlefield into a quagmire. Alfred developed trench foot and was taken out of the lines. In early 1917, the Germans were in the middle of withdrawing to the Hindenburg Line. The Allies were ordered to chase them. This led to many bitter assaults when the Allies hit the Germans’ vanguard units, the 20th Battalion at Lagnicourt. Thomas was then recommended for and later awarded a Military Medal for his heroic actions on the 15th of April. As a lewis gunner, he helped to drive out German forces from Lagnicourt and was instrumental in regaining a lost artillery unit. The 20th Battalion was then ordered to attack the Hindenburg Line. Moving into position, Thomas was wounded on the 2nd of May, just before the Second Battle of Bullecourt. He was carried by the 5th Field Ambulance to a Casualty Clearing Station with a shell wound to his back. The shrapnel caused much damage, and he was invalided to England on the 14th of May to the 2nd Southern General Hospital. In late July, he was taken back to France via Southampton, rejoining the 20th Battalion in mid August. During the Third Battle of Ypres, he was killed in action by an artillery blast on the 8th of October 1917 at Passchendaele Ridge. Sadly, he was blown to pieces and was unable to be given a proper burial. His name was later recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper (Ypres) in Belgium.