Thomas Kinsman Bickell

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Thomas Kinsman Bickell
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Personal Information
Date of Birth 3 Jun 1894
Place of Birth Lamerton, Devonshire, England
Death 21 Mar 1967
Place of Death Mount Barker, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 21 years, 9 months
Description 5'7" (1.70m) tall ; 140 lbs
63.503 kg
; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; light brown hair
Occupation Butcher
Religion Church of England
Address Post Office, Mundijong, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Thomas Kinsman Bickell
Military Information
Reg Number 6232
Date of Enlistment 11 Apr 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 11th Battalion, 20th Reinforcements to B Company / 3rd Brigade, 1st Division
Date of Embarkation 18 Sep 1916 ‒ 2 Nov 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A46 Clan McGillivray
Date of Return 25 Aug 1917 ‒ 17 Oct 1917
Ship Returned On HMAT A24 Benalla
Fate Wounded in Action 6 May 1917 2nd Bullecourt
Returned to Australia
Monument Mundijong Honour Roll
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

Electoral Roll entries - 1916 Malaga Park, Highgate Hill north, butcher.

War Service

After entering the Blackboy Jill camp on 11 Apr, Tom is allocated to the 21st reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion on 1 May. However, his training must have gone well, as on 22 Jul 1916 he is placed with the 20th reinforcement draft.

On 17 Dec 1916 he proceeded overseas to Étaples on HMT Golden Eagle from Folkestone, and a month later on 17 Jan 1917 he is taken on strength by the 11th Battalion at Bresle in the Somme region. Hospitalised briefy from 20 - 24 Jan 1917.

On 5 May 1917 the 11th Battalion relieved the 4th Battalion in the front lines trenches at Noreuil, east of Bullecourt, and came under heavy shelling several times during the day. However, when the enemy sought to launch an attack on them, their coloured signals led to an unintended outcome as the Australian Artillery "smashed" the attack.

However at 1am the next morning when the enemy again attacked, Australian artillery did not respond, nor did they respond to an SOS signal, so the attack had to be beaten off by rifle and machine gun fire. A third attack four hours later was in part beaten off by the artillery, but on the right flank the enemy used flamenwerfen (flamethrowers) to capture a section of Australian trench. Those driven from it, however, regrouped and evicted the Germans with a counter attack.

At some point during the battle Thomas sustained shell wounds to his shoulder and right leg. Seen by the 5th Field Ambulance and passed to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station he was admitted to the 26th General Hospital in Étaples on 7 May.

On 10 Aug 1917 he was released to the 6th Convalescent Depot. Following assessment, it was decided to send Tom home, and on the 14th he was in No 2 Command Depot Weymouth awaiting a ship.

Discharged at 5th Military District on 10 Nov 1917, medically unfit for further service.

Post War

1919 married Ivy Ada Mottram. Ivy died 27 May 1978, aged 80.

Electoral Roll entries - 1925- 1931 with Ivy Ada a farmer in Three Springs; 1936 - 1943 farming at Yandanooka; 1954 an agricultural machinery serviceman in Mt Barker; 1963 farmer at Mt Barker.

Notes

In 1967 the Mundijong RSL Sub Branch enquires of a K Bickel, and told no such person appears in the records for WW1 or WW2. They also enquire on behalf of TK Bickell's widow, who advises them that her husband had enlisted in WW1 from Mundijong. At time of his death was a War pensioner.


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