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Thomas Robert Lynch


Serial No:
Serial No. 2761

Camel Corps


Thomas Robert Lynch - Information

The Lynch family had vast ties to the Campbelltown area beginning shortly after the town was founded. Thomas’ father, James, was a horseshoer and general smith, who ran a business on Queen St near the Commercial Bank. James provided a valuable service and was a pillar in the community. Thomas was then born in Campbelltown in 1893 and grew up in the area with his siblings. When he was older, he began working with his father and became a blacksmith. After the war commenced, Thomas decided to do his bit, having watched many of his friends leave for war. He travelled into Sydney to enlist in the Light Horse on the 25th of February 1917, aged 23. He commenced his training at the Royal Australian Showground Camp before being stationed to Menangle Park in late March. He was then assigned to the Camel Corps and was shipped out from Sydney onboard the HMAT Port Sydney on the 9th of May 1917.

Thomas arrived in Suez, Egypt on the 20th of June. He was then marched out from Moascar Camp and taken on strength to the ANZAC Reserve in Abbassia. In September, Thomas was posted to the 3rd Camel Battalion, joining them at the ANZAC Base Depot. Thomas and his unit fought the Turks throughout Palestine as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. During his tour, Thomas experienced the terrible conditions fighting in the desert. Awful dry food, sandstorms, flies and unsanitary well water made patrolling very difficult. As a result, Thomas started to feel very ill, and was assigned duty at Port Said on the 13th of April 1918. However, his health deteriorated, and he was admitted to the 14th General Hospital at Port Said on the 28th of May.

Thomas was suffering from severe dysentery. Consistent poor diet and contaminated water caused Thomas to suffer large bouts of diarrhoea everyday and a looseness of his bowels. The symptoms were relentless, his stool contained blood and mucus. To make matters worse, Thomas also suffered an allergic reaction to the treatment serum, developing a rash and fever. He subsequently collapsed and became cyanosed. Even with better meals and water, he still had diarrhoea attacks everyday for over five months. Very ill, he remained in hospital until mid October. Although Thomas was feeling a little better, he unfortunately, was almost immediately re-admitted as symptoms persisted. He remained in treatment until after the war ended. The dysentery had taken such a toll; originally Thomas weighed 10 stone (63.5kg) and after seven months was 101lbs (45kg). He was then invalided home to Australia from Suez, sailing on the HT Aeneas on the 1st of January 1919. He was still receiving treatment when he reached Sydney, and after a few months, he began to recover as the diarrhoea stopped and he gained weight. Thomas was finally able to return his civilian life and family in Campbelltown.