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William Robert THOMSON

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 58413 17 Mar 1900 18y4m 29 Jul 1918 6 Jan 1919 3

William Robert Thomson (1900 - 1970)


Family background

William Robert Thomson known as 'Will' was born in Brisbane on 7 March 1900, the second child and eldest son in the family of John and Janet Thomson.  His older sister was Henrietta and his younger brothers were Walter Wallace, Eric Rae and Douglas.

Will Thomson was only 15 years old when the Great War broke out.  When he joined the AIF in Brisbane four months before the end of the war in 1918, his father was away on active service and his mother gave her permission on a special form to which she attached a note to the enlisting officer: 

“My consent as shown on attached form is genuine. Sincerely yours,

Janet A Thomson”.

Will’s parents, John1 and Janet Thomson, were well known at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Brisbane.  John was an elder and manager, Janet an active leader in the PWMU2 and women’s guild and organiser of Anzac Day lunches in Saint Andrew’s Hall for many years.

Enlistment and service

Called 'Will' by his family, he stood 6 feet and ¼ inch (183.5cm) tall when he enlisted on 29 July 1918 to serve overseas in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).  He was a single man, 18 years old, a farmer, having also served for a period of 18 months in Senior Cadets Area 7B.

Private William Thomson embarked from the Port of Sydney with other reinforcements from Queensland on the steam ship Wyreema on 14 October 1918.  The war ended a month later and William returned to Australia when the troops were recalled.  Private Will Thomson was discharged on 6 January 1919.

Post war

The first marriage in the Thomson family was conducted by Rev. Dr E. N. Merrington at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in 1921 when William’s sister Henrietta married an ex-serviceman, Lieutenant Roy M. Browne who managed a grazing property in the Roma district.

On 4 June 1924, William Thomson married Doris Garnett Faulkner, daughter of Albert (a saw sharpener) and Ann Faulkner who lived at Beeston Street, Fortitude Valley.  Will and Doris also lived in the country, firstly on a property called El Rita at McKinlay, a distance of 240 km from Winton in Western Queensland, then on Devonport Station near Cloncurry where at each place Will Thomson was station manager.  Donald Garnett Thomson (1926 – 1986), one of their four children was born at Winton.

William and Doris Thomson later moved to Orana, a grazing property at Tara on the western Darling Downs.


William Robert Thomson died on 11 December 1970 at the age of 70 years.

1. See John Thomson’s story
2. Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union
• National Archives of Australia, military records
• Australian War Memorial, World War 1 Embarkation Rolls
• Archives, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Annual Reports 1901 – 1925, Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
• Queensland Register of Births Deaths and Marriages
• Ancestry, on line
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1919 – 1968
• State Library of Queensland

Compiled by Noel E Adsett, Brisbane.  August 2016.   Edits and additions by Miriam King, April, 2022 ©



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