A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Private Thomas Fahey
Born: 1890 Pakenham. Killed in action: 18 November 1916 near Montauban.
Enlisted: 21 July 1915 aged 25.
Served: Egypt and Western Front.
Thomas was the third Fahey brother to enlist, serving in Egypt before being transferred to the 5th Pioneer Battalion and sent to the Western Front.
The pioneers were trained as infantry, but undertook light engineering works at the Front, often highly dangerous work within range of enemy fire.
During the Battle of Fromelles the 5th Pioneers were sent out to help repair trenches, parapets and other positions; to salvage rifles and other weapons from the battlefield; rescue wounded soldiers from no-man’s land and to bury the dead.
In late 1916, they took part in the Battle of the Somme, the largest offensive on the Western Front, and one of the bloodiest military campaigns in history, and were exposed to heavy German shelling.
On November 18 1916, the last day of the Somme Offensive, Thomas was killed in action. According to the Unit’s diary, the “Carlton Trench” near Longueval was shelled badly by the Germans during the night, with three men buried in a dugout and killed. Thomas may have been one of them.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com