The AIF Project

Thomas Leslie AXFORD

Regimental number3399
Date of birth18 June 1894
Place of birthCarrieton, South Australia
SchoolState School, Coolgardie, Western Australia
ReligionRoman Catholic
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 7.25"
Weight137 lbs
Next of kinW R Axford, 13 Bourke Street, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Previous military serviceServed in the 84th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date9 August 1915
Place of enlistmentKalgoorlie, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name16th Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 27 October 1915
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 1 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll16th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

Recommendation date: 25 May 1918

Victoria Cross (altered to Distinguished Conduct Medal)

Recommendation date: 5 July 1918

FateReturned to Australia 19 October 1918

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery and initiative during operations. When the barrage lifted and an infantry advance commenced his platoon was able to reach the first enemy defences through gaps which had been cut in the wire. The adjoining platoon being delayed in uncut wire, enemy machine guns got into action, and inflicted many casualties, including the company commander. Lance Corporal Axford, with great initiative and magnificent courage, at once dashed to the flank, threw his bombs amongst the machine gun crews, jumped into the trench, and charged with his bayonet. Unaided he killed ten of the enemy and took six prisoners; he threw the machine guns over the paapet, and called out to the delayed platoon to come on. He then rejoined his own platoon, and fought with it during the remainder of the operation. Prior to the incidents above mentioned, he had assisted in the laying out of the tape for the jumping off position, which was within 100 yards of the enemy. When the tapes were laid, he remained out as a special patrol to insure that the enemy did not discover any unusual movement on our side. His initiative and gallantry undoubtedly saved many casualties, and most materially assisted towards the complete success of his company in the task assigned to it.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 191
Date: 12 December 1918

Military Medal

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 15
Date: 4 February 1919

Discharge date6 February 1919
Family/military connectionsBrother: 1581 Sergeant Harry Arnold AXFORD, 10th Bn, returned to Australia, 11 January 1918.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 16th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 7 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 1 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 9 June 1916.

Wounded in action, France, 11 August 1916 (shell shock); rejoined Bn, 13 August 1916.

Found guilty, 7 November 1916, of being absent without leave from night operations from 1700 to 2100 on 6.11.16: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Wounded in action (2nd occasion), 10 August 1917 (gun shot wound, left knee), and admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance and thence to 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station; transferred to 3rd Australian General Hospital, 11 August 1917; to England, 16 August 1917, and admitted to Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, same day; to 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, 25 September 1917. Discharged on furlough, 25 October 1917, to report to No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 8 November 1917. Marched in to No 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, 12 December 1917; to No 4 Command Depot, Hurdcott, 18 December 1917; to Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge Deverill, 5 January 1918. Proceeded overseas to France, 17 January 1918; rejoined unit in the field, 26 January 1918.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 14 February 1918.

Awarded Military Medal.

Detached to Corps Gas School, 19 May 1918; rejoined unit from detachment, 26 May 1918. Promoted Corporal, 14 July 1918.

Awarded Victoria Cross.

Detached to Australian Corps School, 24 August 1918; rejoined unit from detachment, 18 September 1918.

Marched out to England for return to Australia, 14 September 1918.

Commenced return to Australia on board HT 'Sardinia', 19 October 1918; reached Fremantle, 16 December 1918; discharged, 6 February 1919.

Medals: Victoria Cross, Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Also served in World War II, Service No W18283, Australian Military Forces, 25 June 1941-14 April 1947 (Western Australian Echelon and Records Office; discharged as Sergeant).
Date of death11 October 1983
SourcesNAA: B884, AXFORD Thomas Leslie

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