Thomas William Wheatley
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||26 Dec 1880|
|Place of Birth||Stillorgan, Dublin, Ireland|
|Death||19 May 1967, aged 87|
|Place of Death||Mt Lawley, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||35 years, 4 months|
5' 10¼" (1.78m) tall ; 148 lbs|
67.132 kg; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; auburn hair ; tattoos on both forearms.
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Kelmscott, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Wife , Mrs Claribel Wheatley|
|Date of Enlistment||25 Apr 1916|
|Unit/Formation||Tunnelling Companies - Sept 1916 to Feb 1918 Reinforcements, 3rd Tunnelling Coy.|
|Date of Embarkation||17 Jan 1917 ‒ 27 Mar 1917|
|Ship Embarked On||HMAT A5 Omrah|
|Date of Return||28 Mar 1919 ‒ 10 May 1919|
|Ship Returned On||HMT Karoa|
|Fate||Returned to Australia|
|Monument||Kelmscott War Memorial (South panel)|
British War Medal |
Married Claribel Daphne Waterfield (1883 - 1965) during 1905 in Perth. Son Leslie Thomas (1905-1996); daughter Daphne Grace (1907-1980); son Gordon Douglas (1909-1981); daughter Violet Janet (1910-2015); son Mervyn Lindsay (1912-2006); son Eric William (1914- 1974).
Electoral Roll entries - 1910 Maylands Hotel, Guildford road Maylands, hotel keeper; 1912 Kelmscott, labourer; 1916 'Killarney', Kelmscott, labourer
Five weeks after entering camp, Thomas was allocated to the 22nd reinforcement draft for the 11th Bn. However, on 5 Sep 1916 he was transferred to the 10th draft for the 32nd Battalion, and on 16 Nov to the 6th draft for the 44th Battalion, before being again reassigned, this time to the Tunneller's Reinforcements.
Sent east to Seymour in Victoria for more specialised training, he spent a week in hospital during Dec 1916. Eventually he embarked for England in Melbourne on 17 Jan 1917. With 168 tunnellers aboard the Omrah stopped at Adelaide on 19 January, Fremantle 21 January (seems to have doubled back after originally leaving on 24 January, before finally leaving on 2 February), Durban 16 February, Capetown 20 February, and Freetown Sierra Leone 9 March.
On arrival in England he was sent to the Draft Depot at Perham Downs, before proceeding overseas to France through Folkestone on 14 Apr 1917. He was taken on strength of the 3rd Tunnelling Coy on 15 Jun 1917 in the Loos section where they were improving front line trenches.
On 15 Jul 1917 he reported sick to 11th Field Ambulance, who then passed him to the 16th Field Ambulance and then the 1/1 North Midland Field Ambulance before he spent time with the 1st Army Rest Camp in Boulogne.
He returned to his unit on 14 Aug 1917. On 16 Oct 1918 he was seen by the 47th Field Ambulance, who referred him on to the 54th Casualty Clearing Station before he was admitted to the 32nd Stationary Hospital on 18 Oct 1918. On 29 Oct 1918 he was evacuated to England aboard HMHS St Denis, before being admitted to the Central Military Hospital Chatham on 29 Oct 1918.
With Synovitis of the left knee he was processed for early return to Australia.
Medical discharge (Synovitis in left knee) 5th Military District 10 May 1919.
Children born post war were: daughter Iris Maureen (1917- ); son Harry James (1920-1990), son Norman George David (1920 - ) and son Aubrey Lancelot (1925 - 2005).
Electoral Roll entries - 1925 both at 12 Hubert street, Victoria Park, carpenter.
In November 1929 Claribel was granted a divorce from Thomas, then a labourer living in Pinjarra on the grounds of his "having repeatedly and habitually failed to comply with the provisions of a maintenance order". They had 10 children by 1926 when they had separated. Thomas had been gaoled on two occasions prior to the divorce. In 1930 Claribel married a second time to Spiridione C A Teuma who served during WW2. Spiridione died on 25 Nov 1956, aged 63, and Claribel died on 4 Jan 1965 aged 81.
For further details relating to the 3rd Tunnelling Company, visit their website