Biography

Birth date: 18 June 1894
Birth place: Australia: South Australia, Carrieton
Death date: 11 October 1983
Final rank: Lance Corporal
Service number: 3399 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 16th Australian Infantry Battalion

Tom Axford (1894-1983) was born in South Australia but grew up in Coolgardie, Western Australia. At the time of his enlistment he was working in Kalgoorlie. Axford arrived in France in 1916 and was treated for shell-shock in August. A year later he received shrapnel wounds and was out of action for four months. In 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal, but his finest hour came in July that year.

During the battle of Hamel, Axford assisted an adjoining platoon by attacking an enemy machine-gun position with bombs and bayonet, killing ten Germans and capturing six, allowing the platoon to come forward and join him in the advance. Of his action he later commented, "I must have been mad". He was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Axford served in a headquarters unit in Western Australia during the Second World War. In his civilian life he was a clerk and a businessman.

Rolls and Awards

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 01 November 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Fremantle

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 16th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 16th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Military Medal

  • Unit: 16th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

044844

VICTORIA CROSS WINNERS FROM THE BOER WAR AND WORLD WAR 1 WHO GATHERED TO MARCH IN THE SYDNEY ANZAC DAY PARADE. BACK ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: LIEUTENANT (LIEUT.) J. ROGERS, SERGEANT (SGT) R. R. INWOOD, BRIGADIER A. S. BLACKBURN, SGT J. W. WHITTLE, SGT S. R. MCDOUGALL, MAJOR E. T. TOWNER, CAPTAIN (CAPT) A....

044844

044956

Sydney, NSW. 1938-04-23. A group portrait of Victoria Cross recipients who were invited to Sydney by the United Licensed Victuallers Association (ULVA) to march as a group in the 1938 Sydney Anzac Day march. This gesture by the ULVA was part of the Australian sesquicentennial (150 years)...

044956

J03060

PORTRAIT OF 3399 LANCE-CORPORAL T. L. AXFORD, VC MM

J03060

J03060A

Studio portrait of 3399 Lance Corporal (LCpl) Thomas Leslie Axford, VC, 16 Infantry Battalion. LCpl Axford was awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery and initiative during operations" on 4 July 1918 during the Battle of Hamel. When the barrage lifted and the infantry advance...

J03060A

J03061

NO. 3399 L/CORPORAL T.L. AXFORD, V.C., M.M. (PROFILE.)

J03061

J03075

1927-04-25. AUSTRALIAN VICTORIA CROSS (VC) WINNERS WHO TOOK PART IN THE ANZAC DAY MARCH IN MELBOURNE, WAITING TO ENTER THE EXHIBITION BUILDING, WHERE A COMMEMORATION SERVICE WAS HELD. LEFT TO RIGHT: CAPTAIN R.C. GRIEVE, 2ND LIEUT W. RUTHVEN, CAPT J.E. NEWLAND, 2ND LIEUT J. HAMILTON, LIEUT. A....

J03075

J03076

MELBOURNE, AUS. 1927-04-25. AUSTRALIAN VICTORIA CROSS (VC) WINNERS WHO TOOK PART IN THE 1927 ANZAC DAY MARCH. IN THE BACKGROUND ARE THE KING'S AND REGIMENTAL COLOURS OF THE A.M.F. BATTALIONS AND REGIMENTS. LEFT TO RIGHT:- CORPORAL (CPL) B.S. GORDON MM, CPL T.L. AXFORD MM, CPL J. CARROLL, SERGEANT...

J03076

P00681.001

1915. STUDIO PORTRAIT, FULL LENGTH, OF PRIVATE THOMAS LESLIE AXFORD 16 BN AIF, WHO WAS LATER AWARDED THE VC AND MM AND RETURNED TO AUSTRALIA ON 1918-10-19. (DONOR: MRS A. CARVELL.)

P00681.001

P01383.011

A portrait of Corporal Thomas Leslei Axford VC MM. This photograph is a portion of P01383.017, a framed composite photograph (photo-montage) presented to Lieutenant John Hamilton VC by Dr Mannix on the occasion of the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in Melbourne, 17 March 1920. The composite...

P01383.011

P01383.017

A framed composite photograph presented to Lieutenant John Hamilton VC by His Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Irish citizens of Victoria, on the occasion of the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in Melbourne, 17 March 1920. The composite photograph comprises portraits of fourteen Victoria...

P01383.017

P01383.018

This is a restored version of P01383.017. The original is is a framed composite photograph presented to Lieutenant John Hamilton VC by his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Irish citizens of Victoria on the occasion of the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in Melbourne, 17 March 1920. The...

P01383.018

P02939.030

Studio portrait of Corporal (Cpl) Thomas Leslie Axford VC MM, 16th Battalion. Cpl Axford was awarded the Victoria Cross as Lance Corporal (LCpl) for "most conspicuous bravery and initiative during operations" on 4 July 1918 at Vaire and Hamel Woods. LCpl Axford left his platoon and attacked an...

P02939.030

Heraldry

Military Medal : Lance Corporal T L Axford, 16 Battalion, AIF

Military Medal (Geo V). Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

REL/13178

Victoria Cross : Lance Corporal T L Axford, 16 Battalion, AIF

Victoria Cross. Engraved reverse suspender with recipient's details and reverse cross with date of action.

REL/13177

Timeline

Date of birth 1894-06-18
Other 1912 - 1915 Served in the 84th Infantry Regiment of the Australian military Forces.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1915-07-19 Allocation to the 11th Reinforcements of the 16th Battalion.
Date of embarkation 1915-11-01 Embarked on HMAT Benalla.
Date of embarkation 1915-11-01
Date wounded 1916-08 Shell shocked.
Date wounded 1917-08
Date promoted 1918-02 Promoted to Lance Corporal.
Date of honour or award 1918-07 Awarded the Military Medal.
Date promoted 1918-07 Promoted to Corporal.
Date of honour or award 1918-07-04 Awarded the Victoria Cross for action at Vaire and Hamel Woods.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-07-05
Date returned to Australia 1918-10
Date of discharge 1919-02-06 Discharged in Perth.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1941-06-25 Served with the Western Australian Echelon and Records Office.
Date of discharge 1947-04-14 Discharged with the rank of Sergeant.
Date of death 1983-10-11