Thomas John Geary

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Thomas John Geary
Geary Thomas John.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 16 Nov 1900
Place of Birth Toodyay, Western Australia
Death 6 Mar 1974
Place of Death Port Hedland, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 41 years, 1 month
Occupation Orchardist
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Ruby Geary
Military Information
Reg Number W18712 & WX41230
Date of Enlistment 18 Dec 1941
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 5th Australian Employment Company
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 15 Oct 1942 ‒ 17 Oct 1942
Transport Details HMT 1850 Townsville to Port Moresby
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 29 Jan 1944 ‒ 6 Feb 1944
Transport Details SS Stephen G. Porter Port Moresby to Brisbane
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

Electoral Roll entries: 1925 at Stirling terrace Toodyay, greengrocer;

War Service

Original enlistment at Claremont was with the CMF on 18 Dec 1941 and he was allocated to the Western Command Labour Company following his completion of basic training, joining the 5th Australian Labour Company at Karrakatta on 25 Mar 1942. On 12 Jun 1942 Thomas faced a District Court Martial in the Melville Camp on a series of charges:

  • 1) Deserting His Majesty's Forces in that he at Spring Hill did absent himself without leave from the 5th Aust Labour Company from 11:59pm on 25 Apr 1942 until he was apprehended by the Military Police on the Perth Esplanade at 11:00am on 25 May 1942 with the intent to absent himself permanently from the Military Forces. A.A. Section 12 (1).
  • 2) Loosing by neglect his equipment, clothing, and Regimental necessities to the value of 12/6d ($1.25).

Finding: Charge 1) Guilty of Absence without leave; Charge 2) Guilty, Sentence 14 days detention, and stoppages of pay util he has made good the loss of kit to the value of 12/6d. The findings were promulgated and confirmed on 16 Jun 1942. Total loss was 378/6d. ($37.85 or 75 day's pay).

Thomas rejoined the Labour Company following his release from detention on 25 Jun 1942. The following day he was detached to Northam, and on 9 Jul 1942 he moved to Werribee (WA), returning to his unit on 25 Aug 1942. On 20 Sep 1942 they entrained in Perth for Queensland, where on 15 Oct 1942 they embarked on HMT 1850 for Port Moresby, disembarking on 17 Oct 1942. On 29 Oct 1942 Thomas was admitted to the Infectious Diseases Hospital with Dysentry and on 6 Nov 1942 he was transferred to the 113th Australian Convalescent Depot, returning to his unit two days later on 8 Nov 1942. On 16 Jan 1943 Thomas was transferred to the New Guinea Force Detachment, Australian Army Canteen Service

On 8 February Thomas was admitted to the 2/9th Australian General Hospital who on 18 February released him to the 113th Australian Convalescent Depot. They in turn released him to his unit on 24 Feb 1943. On 8 May 1943 he was transerred back to the 5th Australian Labour Company. On 12 Nov 1943 Thomas was admitted to the 2/9th Australian General Hospital, diagnosed as having Inflamatory Arthritis. On 9 Dec 1943 he was released to the 113th Australian Convalescent Depot before returning to the Labour Company on 21 Dec 1943. Thomas embarked on SS Stephen G. Porter which departed Port Moresby at 7:am on 29 Jan 1944, for Brisbane via Townsville and Gladstone. Arriving in Brisbane at 6:12 pm on 5 Feb 1944, the 5th Australian Employment Company disembarked the following day. Thomas enlisted in the 2nd AIF on 29 May 1944 and was given the new Army Number of WX41230.

On 11 Oct 1944 Thomas was transferred to the Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot for re-allocation, and on 23 Oct 1944 he was posted to the 5th Australian Ordnance Vehicle Park, remaining with them until 22 Oct 1945 when he returned to the Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot for discharge which took place on 24 Oct 1945.

Post War


During the period 1939 - 1945 some unit names changed more than once. In the case of Australian Employment Companies they were also known as Works Companies, Labour Companies, Labour Units, Labour Corps. For sake of consistency I have adopted the term Employment Company. The role they played did not change with title. They were established to ensure that the Australian Defence Force had a large force of soldiers dedicated to essential labouring tasks, providing the physical labour needed to maintain the war effort and support the fighting forces.

Of the total of 39 Companies, 11 were part or fully manned by non British citizens known then as 'aliens'. These alien companies were not issued with arms. The 5th Company was not one of the alien companies, being manned by British citizens.

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