Thomas Stanley O'Meagher
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||17 Sep 1918|
|Place of Birth||Victoria Park, Western Australia|
|Death||1 Dec 1985, aged 67|
|Place of Death||Greenmount, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||21 years, 3 months|
|Description||5'11" (1.80m) tall ; ; fair complexion ; grey eyes ; black hair ; scar on right forearm|
|Address||Karragullen, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Wife , Mrs Dorothy Joy O'Meagher|
|Date of Enlistment||1 Jun 1940|
|Unit/Formation||2/28th Australian Infantry Battalion|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||5 Jul 1941 ‒ 25 Jul 1941|
|Transport Details||HMT Aquitania Convoy US 11A Fremantle to Port Tewfik|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||24 Jan 1943 ‒ 18 Feb 1943|
|Transport Details||HMT Queen Mary Port Tefik to Fremanlte via Massawa & Maldive Islands|
|2nd Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||7 Aug 1943 ‒ 10 Aug 1943|
|Transport Details||SS Charles P Steinmetz Cairns to Milne Bay, Papua|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||19 Jan 1945 ‒ 28 Jan 1945|
|Transport Details||SS Van Heutsz Finchhaven, New Guinea to Townsville|
|Post War Details|
WIA 27 Jul 1942 Ruin Ridge Libya |
WIA 29 Jul 1945 Brunei Bay
Returned to Australia
1939-45 Star |
Africa Star (with 8th Army Clasp)
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Military records drop the O' i.e. he was known by them as Thomas Stanley Meagher.
Tom enlisted at Claremont and after two months of general training he was drafted to the No.1 Depot Battalion. On 3 Dec 1940 he was charged with failing to appear on parade at 6:10am on 29 Nov 1940. Found guilty he was awarded 7 days C.B. (Confined to Barracks - given extra duties or drill to perform). On 11 Dec 1940 he was transferred to the No. 2 Depot Battalion, where soon after he was granted pre-embarkation leave from 21 - 29 Dec 1940. On 6 Jan 1941 he was transferred to the 2nd Reinforcement draft for the 2/16th Battalion. Moved to the 13th Training Battalion on 15 Jan 1941, he was admitted to the 110th Australian Base Hospital (Perth - Later known as Hollywood Repatriation Hospital) with ligature damage to his right knee. It wasn't until 25 Feb 1941 that he returned to duty.
Granted some abbreviated leave from 5:00pm on 14 Mar until midnight 17 Mar 1941, Tom embarked for overseas on 5 Jul 1941 aboard HMT Aquitania which was a part of Convoy US 11A, and he disembarked in the Middle East on 25 Jul 1941. For training he was posted to the 21st Australian Infantry Training Battalion from 10 Aug until 14 Sep 1941.
From 22 Sep until 7 Oct 1941 he was detached to the Staging Camp Amerya after which he was detached on special duty to the 21st Infantry Training Battalion. On 29 Apr 1942 his detachment ceased and he returned to the 7th Australian Infantry Training Brigade, and on 23 May 1942 he was taken on strength by the 2/28th Battalion.
Ill with tonsillitis, Tom was seen by the 2/11th Australian Field Ambulance on 11 Jun 1942 before being forwarded to the 2/3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station on 16 Jun 1942. On 19 Jun 1942 he returned to his unit. Tom was wounded on 27 Jul 1942 with a gun shot wound to his chest and was evacuated the next day to the 2nd British General Hospital. On 1 Aug 1942 he was moved to the 2/6th Australian General Hospital and on 23 Aug 1942 he was well enough to move to the 1st Australian Convalescent Depot. However, on 3 Sep 1942 he needed to be readmitted to the 2/6th Australian General Hospital with Impetigo (skin infection). On 9 Sep 1942 he was back with the 1st Australian Convalescent Depot for another 12 days before being released to the AIF Staging camp. On 16 Oct 1942 he rejoined the 2/28th Battalion and was welcomed back by being appointed Lance Corporal on 27 Oct 1942.
On 12 Nov 1942 he was made Acting Corporal. On 24 Jan 1943 the battalion embarked on HMT Queen Mary for Fremantle. The Operation Pamphlet convoy comprised HMT Queen Mary, HMT Aquitania, SS Île de France, SS Nieuw Amsterdam, and HMT Queen of Bermuda. Port Tewfik couldn't handle them all at once so in sequence they loaded, sailed down the Red Sea to Massawa where they anchored until all of the convoy had loaded. The Queen Mary, also carrying the 2/32nd Battalion was there for a week before it was able to set sail for Australia. Rather than travel via Colombo as expected by the troops, the ships set a course for the central Indian Ocean and on 9 Feb 1943 entered what was then known as Port T, a secret naval base unknown to the Japanese in the Addu Atoll, the southernmost land of the Maldives. On 10 Feb the convoy set sail for Fremantle, arriving there on 18 Feb 1943 and disembarked the Western Australian troops. Sent initially to the Melville Camp and given three weeks leave. In March 1943 they began a train journey eastwards to the Atherton tablelands in north Queensland. After a time in Australia rebuilding the battalion, during which time Tom's promotion to Corporal was confirmed (2 Jul 1943), the battalion on 7 Aug 1943 embarked at Cairns on SS Charles P Steinmetz for Milne Bay in Papua, arriving there on 10 Aug 1943.
Tom was again ill, having caught Dengue Fever, and on 29 Nov 1943 he was treated by the 2/3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station and evacuated to the 2/8th Australian Field Ambulance. On 9 Dec 1943 he was back with the battalion which on 19 Jan 1944 embarked on SS Van Heutsz for Townsville where they disembarked on 28 Jan 1944. Granted leave again, on 19 Apr 1944 he needed medical help for an infection and was treated by the 2/6th Australian General Hospital. On 6 Apr 1944 Tom was promoted Acting Sergeant and five days later on 11 Apr 1944 he was entrained in Perth for South Australia.
Soon after arrival in South Australia Tom was sent on a course from 18 Apr until 1 May 1944 that dealt with issues relating to his role as a Platoon Sergeant, and on 8 Sep 1944 his rank was confirmed. With another overseas posting in the wings, he married on 24 Feb 1945 Dorothy Joy Cloutt whose address while he was absent was Albany road, Kelmscott.
On 23 Apr 1945 Tom embarked on USS General J.H. McRae in Townsville for Morotai which was being used as a staging area in preparation for the 7th and 9th Divisions amphibious operations on Borneo. The 24th Brigade landed on "Brown Beach" on Labuan Island on 10 June, with Tom landing from LST 637. It took the 2/28th and 2/43rd 11 days to clear the island. The strongest Japanese resistance came from the area called the "Pocket". The battle began on 15 June and, after almost a week of shelling, air strikes, and naval bombardment, the 2/28th captured the "Pocket" on 21 June and the 2/28th then moved to Beaufort, on the opposite side of Brunei Bay, spending the final weeks of the war patrolling the surrounding area. Sadly for Tom this was when he was wounded in action a second time on 29 Jul 1945 with wounds to his forearm, hands, neck and face from a grenade. Evacuated same day to the 2/3rd Australian Field Ambulance, he returned to the 2/28th Battalion on 8 Aug 1945, so the wounds were relatively minor.
Overseas service was: Middle East from 15 Jul 1941 to 18 Feb 1943; New Guinea from 7 Aug 1943 until 28 Jan 1944; and Borneo from 23 Apr 1945 until 7 Nov 1945. Tom was discharged at Karrakatta on 21 Nov 1945.
The three O'Meagher brothers - Tom, Jack and Bill - resumed their lives in Karragullen, centred around the family orchard. They had a case mill, making fruit transport cases for growers in the area. According to the oral history of Dawn O'Meagher (Tom's sister-in-law), each of the brothers was gifted a block of land by their father to build a house on. At a later stage after the war, Tom (Thomas) and Dot (Dorothy) moved to a farm at Toodyay.
Tom's wife Dorothy died on 25 Jun 2009, aged 85.
Considerable use has been made of details about the operations of the 2/28 Battalion from the AWM website. NOK at enlistment was his father, subsequently change to his wife following their marriage in 1945.