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Ian Lester Thomas

Reference Number: DA-02581-F

New Zealand World War 2 soldier Sergeant Ian Thomas of 25 Battalion, Egypt. Photograph taken by W A Whitlock.Note on back of file print reads: Taken at 7.30 pm on start line of attack by 6 Brigade...NOT at final battle at El Alamein.

New Zealand World War 2 soldier Sergeant Ian Thomas, Western Desert, Egypt, 1942

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  • Title
  • Forenames
    Ian Lester AWMM
  • Surname
    Thomas AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    34163 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    30 April 1917 AWMM ChristchurchCanterbury AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM C/o Swift and Company Ltd, Wairoa, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mr S.H. Thomas (father), Mount Pleasant Road, Christchurch, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Unknown AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    34163 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Cross (MC) AWMM
    10 May 1945 AWMM
    The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Thomas, Ian Lester. (Ref. WO 373/11/590). Military Cross. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
    Wounded twice AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • 2 Lt L. R. Thomas; Johnsonville; born NZ 29 Jun 1916; canister maker. (Source: Henderson, J. 22 Battalion. p.262.)

    'The first man to win his way into La Romola was Lieutenant Ian Thomas with 15 Platoon (3 Company). This won him the MC. His citation mentions how ‘His courage, his cheerfulness and his complete disregard for his personal safety were factors of great inspiration to his men. On two occasions the platoon was pinned down by heavy fire from machine-gun posts. Lt. Thomas himself charged both [posts] and with his tommygun killed or wounded the defenders and the advance continued.’
    In the afternoon before the attack, Sergeant Johnny Hughes and another man from 16 Platoon had gone out on reconnaissance, but had been held up in the creek. Fifteen Platoon was not supposed to go forward until it heard from this patrol, but at night no news had come so the platoon advanced. ‘Getting off the startline was the worst part,’ says Bill Windsor. ‘We met shelling and counter shelling in the creek, keeping touch in the platoon was tough, but we got ‘em up there.’ Pushing on up the hill they lost contact, reached the first house half-way up, were shelled and fired on by a machine gun (near the house), which was cleaned up. Here Phil Wevell was wounded, and was killed by a second machine gun while making his way back to the house. The second nest was cleaned out (Private Wilson was wounded), and on the threshold of La Romola 15 Platoon was held up for a good two hours in the second house, which was not occupied, and was trying to make contact with the other platoons.' (Source: Henderson, J. 22 Battalion. p. 319.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    2007 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Sutherland, J. (1989). Gallantry awards to New Zealanders in World War Two. Christchurch, N.Z.: Regal Medals. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 3: WW2 469 AWMM
    • Henderson, J. (1958). 22 Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.262–263, 317–321, 327. AWMM
    • Kay, R. (1967). Italy. Volume 2. From Cassino to Trieste. Dept. of Internal Affairs, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
      p.165. AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
06 April 2018PhilWellington New ZealandOther
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