Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 - 1919
1524 Private Robert “Roy” Bossence Thomas – Bairnsdale / Bruthen Died of injuries 30 January 1916
….. first hand altercation with one of the Turks
Robert, born in 1893, was the third son of Robert and Mary Thomas of Heywood in Victoria. He had two older brothers, Richard and Stanley, and a younger brother, Samuel. Robert was only four years old when his father died in 1897 through an accident while working at the Condah Swamp, his mother remarried Amos Taylor in 1899 and they moved to the Bruthen area in the early the following year. Their daughter Annie Maud Taylor was born at Bullumwaal in 1902 and sometime after her birth they moved back to the Latrobe Valley. The family returned to Bruthen in the 1920s where Amos died in 1941 and Mary in 1952.   Robert, known as Roy, was a navvy and the first of the boys to enlist when at 21 years old he enlisted in October 1914. He joined the 14 th  Battalion and sailed from Melbourne on the Clan McGillivray in February the following year. From 19 April 1915 he spent five days in hospital with influenza on Lemnos and rejoined his unit just in time for the landing at Gallipoli. He survived this unscathed but was struck down with gastroenteritis in early August and was taken to the hospital ship Ionian for four days. When we returned to Gallipoli he literally had a firsthand altercation with one of the Turks and was bayoneted through the wrist. This was not looked at by the medics until the 24 August by which time it had turned septic and saw him out of action for almost a month. He rejoined his comrades again only to develop a jaundice condition which saw him hospitalised firstly on the island of Mudros then to Heliopolis before finally being admitted to the hospital at Alexandria in Cairo. He was discharged from the hospital on 28 December and rejoined his unit on 3 January 1916. Roy’s death is recorded on 30 January at the No. 1 Stationary Hospital at Ismailia from brain concussion. A court of enquiry held in May concluded that he had been struck by an MP the same day and admitted to hospital. His file gives no indication how this happened and only that his death was accidental. Roy was buried at Ismailia cemetery on the Suez Canal by Rev. Ingamell the same day.  A wire received by his mother did not state the cause of death and they could only surmise that he had a jaundice relapse. Both his older brothers Richard (Dick), who was gassed whilst in France, and Stanley, returned to Australia in 1919 and his youngest brother Samuel served in WW11. We have been unable to locate a photograph of Private Robert Thomas, if you know of one, please make contact. Our group would appreciate your assistance.