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Acland Withiel Thomas

Full length portrait of Lieutenant Acland Withiel Thomas. (Photographer: Herman Schmidt, 1916). Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-T1201. No known copyright.

Full length portrait of Lieutenant Acland Withiel Thomas. (Photographer: Herman Schmidt, 1916). Sir …

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Acland Withiel AWMM
  • Surname
    Thomas AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWI 4/78A AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Miss Mary W.W. Thomas (sister), care of Professor A.P.W. Thomas, Mountain Road, Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWI 4/78A AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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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

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Trench cyclist'

    'A former engineer officer who has just died became well known in the field engineers in France for his practice of riding a bicycle on the duckboards of communication trenches. He was Mr Acland Withiel Thomas, eldest son of the late Professor Sir A. P. W. Thomas, K.C.M.G., of Auckland University.

    He rode his bicycle, by the way, to save a leg damaged when he was hit on Gallipoli. In the Gallipoli episode he was recommended for the D.C.M., but was awarded an "immediate" M.C. in France.

    On the last occasion, at Greveour on the Canal de L'Escaut, he was responsible for repairing a bridge. So heavy was the fire that Thomas, then a Lieutenant, ordered his men to retire and carried on himself. As it was thought that he could not possibly survive, the M.C. award was made straight away. His successful work then is mentioned in Colonel S. S. Allen's "Second Auckland."

    It was tough luck for him that on the last day the division was in action (in November 1918) he suffered a wound that led to the loss of his damaged leg.

    He was drawing charges from mined bridges beyond Le Quesnoy when some cavalry drew shell fire, and a fragment lodged in his left knee. This was missed in an X-ray examination, and the wound became gangrenous and the leg was amputated in 1919.

    One of his biggest regrets was that the division did not act on his report that a pillbox at Bellevue (from which he extracted two bottles of liqueur) was unprotected by wire and could be occupied.

    From this pillbox the Germans later inflicted hundred of casualties and held up the Passchendaele advance by the New Zealanders.'

    Obituary in the Auckland Star, December 1962

    Attended Auckland Grammar School.

    Attended Auckland University College (now the University of Auckland). AWMM
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Death

About death

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

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1917). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume II. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      38: 24 AWMM
    • Auckland Grammar School Chronicle. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland Grammar School. AWMM
      1915, Second term. p.42. AWMM
    • Auckland Grammar School Chronicle. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland Grammar School. AWMM
      1915, Third term. p.31. AWMM
    • A.U.C. roll of honour, 1914 - 1920. MSS & Archives E-2, Special Collections, University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services. AWMM
    • Beattie, P.J. & Pomeroy, M. (2013-2020). Onward : portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (vols 1-5). Auckland, New Zealand: Fair Dinkum Publications AWMM
      Vol. 1: Includes portrait AWMM
    • Weekend Herald AWMM
      5 April 2014, Gallipoli: 100th anniversary, Chosen Kiwis AWMM
    • Connolly, A., & Stanes, P. Rememberance: Auckland Grammar School Great War Roll of Honour. Vols 1 & 2. Auckland: Petand Prodctions. AWMM
    • Beattie, P.J. & Pomeroy, M. (2013-2020). Onward : portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (vols 1-5). Auckland, New Zealand: Fair Dinkum Publications AWMM
      Vol. 5: Includes portrait AWMM

Contributors

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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
21 August 2018LizAucklandChild
17 May 2018AllanRotoruaResearcher
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