Monday, 1 January 2018

7045 Private Thomas Denis CONDRON (1900 - 1918)

The Battle of Amiens, which began on 8 August 1918, was the opening phase of the so-called Hundred Days Offensive by the Allied forces. With a rapid gain of territory and the capture of some 50,000 German soldiers, it has been said that the Battle of Amiens marked the end of trench warfare in World War I and ultimately led to the end of the war with the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918.

Central to the action at the Battle of Amiens was the Fourth Army under General Henry Rawlinson, comprising 19 divisions of British, Australian and Canadian troops. By 11am on the first day of the battle alone, the Australians and Canadians had managed to advance some 3 miles as they attacked eastwards to the south of the River Somme starting in the area around Villers-Bretonneux, and by the end of the day had opened a gap some 15 miles wide in the German lines. One of the five Australian divisions involved in the Battle of Amiens was the 4th Division, of which the 45th Battalion was part.

Private Thomas Denis CONDRON (service no. 7045) was killed in action in the Battle of Amiens on 17 August 1918. The war ended 12 weeks later.

Thomas Denis CONDRON was born on 5 November 1900 in Mungindi which straddles the state line between Queensland and New South Wales.  He was the son of James and Jane (née DONALDSON) CONDRON.  When he enlisted in the army in September 1917 he gave his age as 18 years and 7 months, though according to my records he would have been only 16 years and 10 months, and only 17 years old when he was killed. On enlisting, he gave his occupation as colliery driver.

Thomas Denis's parents James CONDRON and Jane DONALDSON were married in Moree, New South Wales, on 10 February 1885. The couple had nine children that I know of: Charles James (born 1886), Annie Kathleen (1890), Agnes Mary (1892), Ivy Eileen (1895), Amy Jane (1898), Thomas Denis (1900). John Victor (1903), Ethel Jessie (1906) and Arthur William (1908). In 1911, Jane CONDRON got herself and all of the above children (except Charles James) baptised, at St. Mary's, Bingara, New South Wales. It is not clear whether James and Jane were still together at this time; when Thomas Denis enlisted in 1917 he gave his next-of-kin as his mother, who was by then living in Islington, Newcastle, New South Wales. 

Thomas Denis CONDRON embarked on the troop ship H.M.A.T. Nestor at Melbourne on 28 February 1918, arrived in England on 20 April. After spending some time in Codford, Wiltshire - where Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) troops were accommodated prior to being deployed to France - he finally arrived in France at the end of July 1918. According to a report filed by his commanding officer, Sgt. S. Horton, he was shot by a sniper at Rozieres (I assume modern-day Rosières-en-Santerre) and died there. The report of his comrade, Private W. Bowater, gives the following information: "I saw him hit by two machine gun bullets in the stomach, at Villers Brettoneaux. He was carried out to the dressing station and died there. He was buried at the back of Villers Brettoneaux with a lot of other Australians. I saw his grave and a cross was erected with his particulars thereon."

Thomas Denis CONDRON is buried in the Fouquescourt British Cemetery, in northern France.  

After the war, first his married sister Agnes Mary PARKER and then his mother wrote to the military authorities asking for a photograph of Thomas Denis CONDRON's grave. It appears that their request was fulfilled, in June 1922, according to an annotation in his military record. 
This concludes my series of blog posts on CONDR*Ns killed in the First World War. To see my other blog posts about CONDR*Ns killed in the First World War, click on "First World War" in the Labels list on the right of the blog web page. 

Thomas Denis CONDRON was the last CONDR*N to be killed before the end of the war on 11 November 2018. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission includes another man, Thomas CONDRON, among the war dead although he died in 1920. I will post about him on a future occasion. 

Comments and corrections welcome, either by leaving a comment below or by email to me: CONDRAN[AT]ONE-NAME.ORG .  

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