Thomas Joseph WARD

Thomas Joseph WARD

‘Private Thomas Joseph Ward’. (1919). Australia’s fighting sons of the empire : portraits and biographies of Australians in the Great War. Sydney : B. Jackson & Co, National Library of Australia,

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4914), Thomas Joseph Ward was born at Maclean, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 21 years and 4 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as groom.  His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 9 inches tall, weight 10 stone, with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair.  His religious denomination was recorded as Roman Catholic. He claimed that he had no  previous military service.

He completed his medical examination on 11th November 1915 at Parramatta, and was attested by Lieutenant R. Howe at Parramatta on 11th November 1915 (the day the Coo-ees marched from Parramatta to Ashfield).

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Duke Street, Grafton, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his father, M. [Michael] Ward, at the same address.[2]

On 8th March 1916, Private Ward, along with many of the other Coo-ees, departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, with the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.

He arrived in Egypt on the 11th April 1916.

On 16th April 1916 Private Ward was transferred to the 5th Division Cyclist Company at Tel-el-Kebir in Egypt (along with fellow Coo-ees Private Brown, Private Richardson, Private Megarrity, Private Lloyd and Private Spicer).

On the 16th of April1916 he was transferred to the 5th Division Cyclist Company.

The Grafton Daily Examiner newspaper reported on 6th June 1916:

‘Private T. J. Ward writes to his mother in Duke-street, dated April 23, that he has arrived in Egypt, after a splendid trip. The young soldier is in perfect health, and expected to leave shortly for France with the Cyclists’ Corps’.[3]

On 6th June 1916 Private Ward departed Alexandra, Egypt, aboard a transport bound for France.  He arrived on Marseilles on 15th June 1916.

After arriving in France, an extract from other letter Private Ward wrote home was published in the Grafton Daily Examiner, on 28th August 1916:

 “I like this country very much, as it puts me in mind of New South Wales, but I think it is a better country. After the war, if I have the luck to get back home again, I will be making my way back here. I am looking forward to having a birthday party in a few days”.[4]

After arriving in France, he was attached to 2nd Anzac Headquarters as an escort. He re-joined the Cyclist Battalion on 28th September 1916.

On 22nd January 1917 Private Ward went on leave to England. He returned to the 2nd ANZAC Cyclist Battalion on 7th February 1917.

On 24th February 1917 Private Ward was charged with Insolence to an NCO. He was awarded 7 days field punishment no. 2.

On 26th March 1917 he was detached for duty with the Anti Aircraft Section 2nd Anzac Headquarters.

He rejoined the 2nd Anzac Cyclist Battalion on 9th June 1917.

On 11th June 1917 Private Ward was sent to a Lewis Gun School. He re-joined the Battalion on 10th September 1917.

On 3rd December 1917 he was detached again to Anti Aircraft Section 2nd Anzac Corps.  He re-joined his Battalion on 9th December 1917. He was then detached again to Anti Aircraft 2nd Anzac Corps on 16th December 1917, then re-joined his Battalion on 23rd December 1917.

On 16th January 1918 Private Ward was transferred to the Australian Corps Cyclist Battalion from the 22nd Corps Cyclist Battalion (late 2nd Anzac Cyclist Battalion) in France.

On 11th April 1918 Private Ward was detached for duty with the Corps Commanders Guard. He rejoined the Battalion on 21st April 1918.

On 24th July 1918 Private Ward went on leave to England. He returned to the 2nd Anzac Cyclist Battalion on 9th August 1918.

On 18th April 1919 Private Ward departed France to commence his return to Australia. He arrived at Southampton, England, and marched into No. 2 Group on 19th April 1919.

Private Ward appears to have been reluctant to leave England, as on 13th June 1916 he was charged at Sutton Veny with evading embarkation and being absent without leave from 0400 on 4th June 1919 till 1800 on 12th June 1919. He was awarded 21 days Field Punishment No. 2 and fined 30 days pay.

On 1st July 1919 Private Ward departed England aboard the H.T. Frankfurt bound for Australia.

He arrived in Australia on 20th August 1919.

He was discharged termination of period of enlistment on 13th October 1919.



[2] Australia War Memorial. First World War Embarkation Roll, Thomas Joseph Ward, HMAT Star of England A15, 8th March 1916.

[3] PERSONAL. (1916, June 6). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved June 11, 2018, from

[4] PERSONAL. (1916, August 28). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved June 11, 2018, from

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