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Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
#303 - South African War 1899-1902 3

Thomas Eastwood (1862-1948)


Early life

Thomas Eastwood spent his boyhood and youth in England. He was born on 23 May 1862 in Burwash in Sussex where his father, also called Thomas, earned a living as a hawker. Thomas was the first child of Thomas Eastwood and Elizabeth née Judge.  After another two children were born in Burwash, the Eastwood family moved to "The Teapot House" in the nearby village of Warbleton. There Thomas Eastwood senior conducted a grocery business. Eventually there were five sons including Thomas junior and three daughters. As they grew older they helped in the grocery business sometimes called the "Grocer Shop" or "Three Cups".

One of them was a chicken fattener, another a general assistant. Thomas junior however, moved away from his family to Hastings where at the age of 18 he had become a carpenter.

Marriage and move to Australia

In January 1885 when Thomas Eastwood was 23 years old, he married Emily Spice in Hastings and later that year the couple sailed to Australia on the ship Duke of Argyll, arriving in Brisbane on 6 May. They lived at first in Musgrave Road, Red Hill and later in Payne Street, Taringa. Their first child, again called Thomas, died just three days old in October 1885. The others were Gertrude who later married Lieutenant Bill Latham1Horace2, Margaret, Violet and Winifred Elizabeth, the youngest, born in 1897. Thomas Eastwood built houses in the northern suburbs of Brisbane till about 1908 but electoral rolls afterwards record Emily with her son Horace and her daughters, but without Thomas. He might have travelled alone to other parts of Australia.

Though Thomas Eastwood’s name is on an honour board in the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel, no record is to be found of his enlistment or service during the Great War of 1914 -18.  Perhaps he served in the South African War of 1899 – 1902, also known as the Boer War.  A record3 was found for Trooper Thomas Eastwood, Africa, Regimental Number 303, in connection with military campaign medals and awards.  Trooper Thomas Eastwood’s name is on a roll of individuals entitled to the South Africa Medal and Clasps, under the Army Order granting the Medal. 

Issue of the award to Trooper Eastwood was authorised on 17 July 1907 after consultation with the Queensland Defence Force. There is no record of Thomas Eastwood’s enlistment in the Boer War in the National Archives of Australia.

Thomas and Emily Eastwood and family (Horace and his bride, daughters Gertrude, Margaret, Violet and Winifred) migrated to South Africa in October 1919 after the marriage of Horace Eastwood and Rubina Probert who remained in Durban, Natal. Thomas Eastwood also stayed in South Africa but his wife Emily and four daughters returned to Australia early in 1920. Three of them married in Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Brisbane and Margaret married in Sydney. Emily spent part of each year living with them all until her death on 31 May 1936 at St Clare’s Home of Rest in Brisbane. 

Thomas remained in South Africa till his death at Hillcrest, Natal on 7 April 1948, aged 85 years.


1. See the Latham Brothers story 
2. See Horace Eastwood story
3. UK, Military Campaign Medals and Award Rolls, 1793 – 1949, Western Province Mounted Rifles Regiment, p168.    


Queensland Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Ancestry on line
Australian Electoral Rolls
Queensland Postal Directories, State Library of Queensland
Passenger Lists, Assisted Immigration 1848 to 1912, Queensland State Archives
1871 England and Wales Census, Source Citation: The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 1045; Folio: 29; Page: 21; GSU roll: 827482. Accessed 6 Apr 2021
1881 England and Wales Census, Source Citation Class: RG11; Piece: 1030; Folio: 65; Page: 39; GSU roll: 1341244. Accessed 6 Apr 2021.
Military records, National Archives of Australia 
Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-949, United Kingdom, South African Colonial Corps


Thanks to Claire Thorndike, great grand-daughter of Thomas Eastwood for her help with family information and for donating the photographs.

Compiled and written by Noel Adsett, OAM.  June 2020 ©



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