Sunday, 19 August 2018

29897 Private Thomas Dunford -13/8/1918


The remains of Private Thomas Dunford, who died at the Hospital on the 13th were interred in the Anderson Bay Cemetery on the 15th with military honours. His death followed wounds received at and exposure after the battle of Messines. His thigh was fractured and he lay out in a shell-hole for two days and three nights. He returned to New Zealand on New Year's Day. Prior to enlisting with the 19th Reinforcements, Private Dunford, who was educated at the Christian Brothers' School, worked for his father, Mr Wm. Dunford, Arawa street, Bayfield. Two of deceased's brothers have lost their lives on active service. Patrick was killed in action in France in December, and James was accidentally drowned in Egypt in April. David and John, two younger brothers, are now serving at the front.  -Otago Witness, 21/8/1918.
Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.  Allan Steel, photo.

In a paragraph which we published yesterday reference was made to a wounded soldier who spent three days in a shell hole before he was rescued. A letter received from the wounded man shows that he belongs to Anderson Bay and that his name is Private Thomas Dunford. In the course of his letter Private Dunford, who left with the Nineteenth Reinforcements, says: "Early in the morning of June 23 I got a smack from a shell, the result being a compound fracture of the left thigh. Two of my mates dragged me to a shell hole and stuck to me for a while, but Fritz's fire was so hot that they had to leave me. Almost helpless I lay in No Man's Land for two days and three nights, with about a pint of water in my bottle and not a bite to eat. On the morning of June 25 Fritz put up a heavy barrage over the ground where I was lying, and high explosive shells and shrapnel were bursting all round me. I thought my time had come, but now I think Providence must have been watching over me. About an hour before daylight about six of our patrols were looking round, and by the slightest chance they noticed tho top of my helmet. There was an officer amongst them. They got round the shell hole and covered me with their rifles, thinking I might be a Hun in disguise. After a couple of questions had been asked they quickly brought a stretcher from our front line and got me out of it. Fritz caught sight of them carrying me away, and we were shelled all the way to the dressing station—a distance of about three miles, some parts of the journey being over very rough country. I am now doing well in a hospital in France, but as soon as I am fit to travel I expect to cross the Channel to  'Old Blighty.' " -Otago Daily Times, 26/9/1917.

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