Thomas Walter DOWD

Thomas Walter DOWD

Per his military service record (regimental no. 6244), Thomas Walter Dowd was born at Wellington, N.S.W. He gave his age as 31 years and 11 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as farmer. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 8 3/8 inches tall, weight 150 lbs., with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. He claimed that he had no previous military service.

He was one of the thirteen men who stepped forward and gave his name, ‘either to march under Captain Nicholas, or to come after harvest’, when the Coo-ees recruited in Wongarbon on 14th October 1915.[1]  It is not clear where he joined the Coo-ee March, but written on the top of the first page in his service record is that he ‘Presented at Orange 24/10/15’. He completed his medical on the 24th October 1915 at Orange, and was attested at Orange on 24th October 1915.

There is a docket in the official correspondence of the march dated 24th November 1915, for “T. Dowd, barbering for Coo-ees 21 days @5/- £5-0-0”. This was the profession he was to undertake later in his life after the end of the First World War.

After completing the remainder of the march he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion, where he was Acting Sergeant.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Wongarbon, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his father, T. Dowd, Maryvale, N.S.W.

Acting Sergeant Dowd departed Sydney on the HMAT Euripides A14 on the 9th September 1916, and arrived at Plymouth, England, on the 26th October 1916.   On the 4th November 1916 he marched into the 4th Training Battalion.

On the 28th December 1916 Acting Sergeant Dowd departed Folkestone aboard the Princess Clementine bound for France. On the 29th December 1916 he marched into the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples where he reverted to the rank of Private.

On the 5th February 1917 Private Dowd was taken on strength of the 19th Battalion. On the 27th April 1917 he was promoted to Lance Corporal. On the 20th May 1917 Lance Corporal Dowd was detached for duty with the 20th Battalion, then on the 16th June 1917 he was detached for duty with the 5th Australian Machine Gun Company.

On the 24th October 1917 Lance Corporal Dowd attended the 6th Officer Cadet Training Battalion at Oxford.

A Confidential Report in his service record dated 27th March 1918 (while he still had the rank of Lance Corporal) had the following remarks: “A very fine character, with any amount of common-sense, grit and determination, also a certain amount of originality. Will lead men anywhere, and win affection and confidence”.

He qualified for a commission on the 30th April 1918. He then attended a Machine Gun course.

On the 1st June 1918 he was appointed a Second Lieutenant and on the 31st July 1918 was taken on strength of the 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion.

On the 3rd September 1918 Second Lieutenant Dowd was wounded in action, and admitted to the 5th Field Ambulance suffering shrapnel wounds to the face and hand. He was moved back to the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station, then to the 20th General Hospital, where he remained until the 20th September 1918.

Second Lieutenant Dowd rejoined his unit on 2nd November 1918. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 8th November 1918

On the 2nd January 1919 Lieutenant Dowd went to the United Kingdom on leave. He returned to his unit on the 18th January 1919.

Lieutenant Dowd departed England on the 19th April 1919 aboard the H.T. Sardinia for return to Australia. He arrived at Sydney on the 8th June 1919. He was discharged on the 21st July 1919.

[1] ‘The Route March’, The Farmer and Settler, 19 October 1915, p. 3.



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