Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Private Thomas Arthur Feeney - Killed in action 5 May 1917 - 2 days short of his 22nd birthday

With the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneaux today, I'll be remembering Thomas Arthur Feeney whose story seems to be barely recorded from my research in our Feeney family.   He was the grandson of Thomas Feeney ("our Jane's" brother) and Julia Cooke.  So "our Jane" was Thomas's great-aunt.

Thomas was born on 7 May 1895 at Marrickville, NSW.  He was the oldest son and third of the twelve children of William Feeney (1868 to 1935) and Elizabeth Marion Faunds (1869 to 1955).  

Thomas enlisted for the First World War on 14 August 1915 when he was 20.  He served in the 2nd Battalion, 12 Reinforcement of the Australian Imperial Force.  His unit embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A7 Medic on 31 December 1915.  They was briefly in Egypt before they sailed for France, arriving in Marseilles on 28 March 1916.  

On 9 July 1916, Thomas received a gun shot wound to his left foot and was hospitalised for a period.  He rejoined his battalion in October 1916.  

Thomas lost his life on 5 May 1917 at in the Second Battle of Bullecourt.  He was 2 days short of his 22nd birthday.  His remains have never been recovered and, to this day, he lies in eternal peace with many of his comrades and foe alike.

This July 1917 letter is located in Thomas's paper.  It shows that, over two months after his death, William and Elizabeth are still seeking news of the fate of their oldest son.

The paper's don't show when the family were informed of Thomas's death.  One only hopes that it was before they received the package containing his effects the following year.

Private Thomas Arthur Feeney, "FEENEY T.A.", is one of the 10,885 names of Australians who were killed in France with no known grave that are inscribed at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France.


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