Thomas Edward Priest

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Hector Edward Williams. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

PRIEST, Thomas Edward

Service no: 336 [1]

Place of birth: Euchareena, 14 January 1889

Address: Euchareena,

Occupation: Railway employee

Next of kin: Henry Priest (father), Euchareena

Date of enlistment: 20 August 1914

Place of enlistment: Randwick

Age at enlistment: 25

Fate: Embarked A23 Suffolk, Sydney, 18 October 1914. Wounded in action 16 June 1916. Sent to England to convalesce. Returned to France September 1916. Promoted to Corporal 26 October 1916. Promoted to Lance Sergeant 21 June 1917. Killed in action on Menin Road near Polygon Wood, 20 September 1917.

Date of death: 20 September 1917

Thomas Edward Priest was one of seven soldiers from the Orange district to die in the Battle of Menin Ridge Road. He was the son of Henry and Margaret Priest of Euchareena who also had another son who served in WWI: Lance Corporal Albert Priest of 3rd Machine Gun Battalion, who returned to Australia in 1919.

Thomas, aka Tommy, was one of the original local men to enlist in 1914. He embarked for Egypt via A23 Suffolk on 18 October 1914, part of the first convoy to leave Australia. He saw service in Egypt, Gallipoli and later the Western Front. While serving in France in June 1916 Thomas received a bullet wound to the right leg. He was transferred to England to convalesce and later returned to France. In June 1917 Thomas attained the rank of Lance Sergeant.

Red Cross Files for Missing and Wounded soldiers contain several reports of Thomas’ death on 20 September 1917. He was part of a group advancing to the upper trenches in front of Polygon Wood when he was hit by a bullet in the head. Several soldiers reported that he was taken to the dressing station and later buried nearby. There is no known grave.

Thomas Edward Priest is commemorated on the Kerr’s Creek and Euchareena Soldiers Memorial Honour Rolls, the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll, on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph, on panel number 34 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres in Belgium.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte TE Priest”; it was donated by Orange High School. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

The Late Sergeant TE Priest [2]

  • Sharon Jameson, November 2018
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