Signalman Thomas Touchell – Royal Australian Navy

He was buried at Harefield Churchyard in Middlesex England in plot 102 and lies among many members of the AIF who died in the war. He was 19 years old.   

Thomas Daniel Touchell was born in Fremantle WA on the 18th July 1899 to Thomas and Lucy Touchell. He was educated in Fremantle and during this time he began his association with the Naval Cadets. He remained with the cadets for several years and even participated in their rifle competitions for the WA Naval Cadets around Australia and was part of a winning team in 1916/17.

Thomas had a younger brother Torrance, born in 1902, and the Touchell family resided in Marmion Street, Fremantle. Their father Thomas (senior) worked for the WA Government Railways as a Locomotive Driver and was always travelling around the state. When news came that Railway Companies were being formed for service with the AIF in Europe, Thomas, despite being 43 years old enlisted in the AIF in January 1917. He was soon sent to France with the 5th Broad Gauge Railway Company and served with the 59th railway operating companies on the Western Front in 1917/18. He was returned to WA in late 1918.

While his father was away in France, Young Thomas was mobilised for Home defence. In August 1917 he volunteered for service abroad and was sent over east to undergo training at Williamstown, Swan Island and Edgecliff. In June 1918 Tom qualified as a Signalman and was assigned Thomas Touchell 2to home duties and then the transport ship service around Australia. On his first major voyage overseas to England he was assigned to the ship HMS Kent.

His father had left England in December 1918 so their ships may have passed en route. On arrival in England in early 1919 young Tom came down ill and was sent into the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital. Unfortunately Tom was suffering from Spanish influenza and despite much attention, his condition continued to deteriorate and he died on the 11th April 1919. He was buried at Harefield Churchyard in Middlesex England in plot 102 and lies among many members of the AIF who died in the war. He was 19 years old.

In 1923 Lucy Touchell died but Thomas John Touchell lived to the ripe old age of 91 before dying in 1965. In World War Two, the youngest son Torrance served in the RAAF for the duration and survived the war. 

Thomas Touchell3

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The City of Fremantle will be participating in, supporting, and hosting a number of events over the commemorative period. The people of Fremantle (including the greater Fremantle area) are proud to be part of the ANZAC Centenary commemorations and to have the opportunity to honour and pay respect to those who have and are serving our nation as part of the Armed Forces. ANZAC Centenary events will embrace the themes: 'Commemorate, Contemplate and Educate'.
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The 849

The 849

Eight hundred and forty-nine is the number of servicemen who lived in the greater Fremantle area, embarked in Fremantle on transport ships that would take them to far away fields, and they are the ones that never returned. You can view the list here. If you would like to make comment about the list please contact 9432 9999 or email
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Over the ANZAC Centenary period, the City of Fremantle has and will host or support a number of tributes and events related to our city's war veterans. Read our news stories to find out how these events came together through text and photographs.
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