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Corporal Thomas Vaughan

Pakenham South War Memorial

Born: 15 April 1895 - Garfield, Victoria

Enlisted: 5 February 1916 aged 20

Unit: 39th Battalion, A Company (SERN: 243)

Served: Western Front

Died: 14 December 1957 - Pakenham, Victoria 


Thomas was the son of Thomas and Caroline Vaughan of Garfield. He attended the Garfield State School (1) and was a keen cyclist, coming second in a 20 mile road race from Iona to Garfield return in 1910 (2). When he enlisted in February 1916, Thomas was nearly 21 years old and working as a labourer (probably a farm labourer) (3). He was assigned to A Company, 39th Battalion at the Ballarat Army Camp. Thomas left Australia on 27 May 1916, was admitted to hospital shortly after arriving in the UK, suffering from influenza. He proceeded to France in November 1916. In March 1917, Thomas was attached to the Third Division Training School and then appointed as a Lance Corporal. He was wounded in action on 29 May 1917, suffering wounds to the left arm, back and buttock. After being hospitalised in France, Thomas rejoined his unit in August 1917. The 39th Battalion subsequently took part in the heavy fighting at Broodseinde Ridge in early October 1917 and later at Passchendaele, which was infamous for the thick mud the soldiers had to advance through. In early 1918, the 39th Battalion was also involved in stopping the German “Spring Offensive” in France. On 30 August 1918, Thomas was appointed as a Corporal. By this stage, the War was almost over, but at the end of September 1918, the 39th Battalion helped breach the Hindenburg Line at the St Quentin Canal (4). Thomas was admitted sick to hospital a couple of weeks after the end of the War. He was subsequently transferred to England as “Class B1” (suitable for light duties only), and subsequently left for Australia in January 1919. Thomas had to be disembarked at Fremantle, where he was hospitalised again with influenza. He was later discharged from the AIF in Melbourne on 7 May 1919 (5). 


After the War, Thomas married Mary Anne McCarthy. The couple raised two sons and a daughter. By 1923, Thomas had obtained a soldier settler block at Pakenham South. His health though, seems to have been a problem: in 1929, Thomas spent a period of time in the Alfred Hospital (6). His son Thomas Edward Vaughan served in WWII (VX122677). Thomas died in December 1957, aged 62. 



(1) South Bourke & Mornington Journal 13/2/1907, p. 2.

(2) The Age 5/5/1910, p.10

(3) & (5) NAA B2455 VAUGHAN, Thomas

(4) Wikipedia entry for 39th Battalion

(6) Dandenong Journal 18/4/1929, p. 4