Thomas Charles BISHOP
Service No. 3691, Private, 59th Battalion

The Battle of Aubers

Thomas Bishop was only nineteen when he enlisted on 20 July 1915. The farmer son of Thomas and Martha Bishop of River Bank, Bairnsdale, Thomas had been in the Citizens Military Forces for two years before he joined up. He was posted to the 8th Battalion 12th Reinforcement and embarked from Adelaide on HMAT Ceramic on 23 November 1915, bound for Egypt.
While serving in Egypt he suffered gastritis that required hospitalisation for some weeks. After returning to duty, on 3 April 1916 Private Bishop was transferred to the 59th Battalion, as part of the reorganisation of the Australian infantry following the Gallipoli campaign.
On 18 June 1916 the 59th Battalion embarked for France, arriving in Marseilles on the 29 June then quickly deployed to the Western Front. On 19 July at the Battle of Fromelles, the 59th advanced on the front and flanks through machine gun fire. In the aftermath of that battle, Thomas Bishop was reported missing.
In October 1916 his parents wrote to Base Records, as they had heard no further news of their son. It was not until 29 August 1917 that a court of enquiry, convened in the field by the commanding officer of the 59th Battalion, conceded that Private Bishop had been killed in action and was presumed buried in no man’s land. His body was later exhumed and is now buried at Aubers Ridge British Cemetery near Armentières.

On 12 April 1921, Thomas Bishop’s recovered identity disc was returned to his grieving parents in Bairnsdale, followed in September 1922 by a memorial scroll and a trickle of service medals over the next few years.