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.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 01 November 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Fremantle
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 16th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 16th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Military Medal
  • Unit: 16th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

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