• Ernest Osman Thomas

Army / Flying Corps

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  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

  • Birth

    Talbot, VIC, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Letter from Pte E.O. Thomas re the Southland saga
    • Posted by FrevFord, Thursday, 25 September 2014

    The Argus, Tue Nov 23, 1915: “A NASTY KNOCK” The following letter is from Private E.O. Thomas, machine-gun section, 21st Battalion, to his mother, at Camberwell:- “Since I last wrote things have proved very lively. We left [censored] on the troopship Southland. She carried a 4.7in gun on the poop deck, right aft, and we mounted two machine guns, one on each side at the center of the ship. At 9.55am on Thursday the enemy jammed a torpedo into her under the forward well deck, and had bulkheads 2 and 3 not held the whole show would have sunk inside a quarter of an hour. When the divers measured the hole it was 37ft long by 20ft deep – rather a nasty knock. We had no warning whatever. The first thing anyone saw was the wake of the torpedo about 50 yards or so away – then boom. The captain of the ship gave the order “Hard astern,” and just stopped in time to prevent the torpedo striking the engine-room and boilers. It was an hour and a half after we struck that I left on the second last raft. I was as seasick as it is possible to be on a raft.