Reilly, Thomas (Tom)
No. 6307, 13th Battalion, Australian Infantry, AIF
Died of wounds on Tuesday 6 February 1917 (aged 39)
Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Grave V. A. 2)
Donaghadee and District War Memorial
Thomas Reilly was born on 22 December 1877 in Back Street, Donaghadee and he was a son of Charles and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Reilly (nee McMeekin) who were married on 6 June 1869 in Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church.
Charles Reilly was an RIC policeman and he and Elizabeth had five children:
William (born around 1870)
Maria (born 30 August 1872 in Meetinghouse Street, Donaghadee)
Elizabeth (born 21 November 1875 in Back Street, Donaghadee)
Thomas (born 22 December 1877 in Back Street, Donaghadee)
John Peter (born 14 March 1880 in Back Street, Donaghadee)
The Reilly family moved to Belfast where they lived at 38 Ardilawn Street. Charles Reilly died of hemiplegia on 17 January 1893 and Elizabeth worked as an embroiderer. The family moved to 16 Seaforde Street, Belfast and then back to Donaghadee where they lived at 7 Bow Street.
Thomas Reilly worked as a railway fireman and then as an engine driver.
Thomas Reilly and Mary Lennon were married on 1 May 1906 in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Church Belfast. Thomas Reilly (aged 28) was living at 3 Sheriff Street, Belfast. Mary Lennon (aged 24) was a daughter of Thomas Lennon, a farmer, and she was living at St Clair, Marlborough Park, Belfast.
Thomas and Mary Reilly (nee Lennon) had one child:
Annie Maria (born 23 February 1907 at 65 Shamrock Street, Belfast)
Twenty-six days after Annie Maria was born her mother Mary died of puerperal septicaemia on 21 March 1907 (aged 24). Annie Maria went to live with her maternal grandmother, Anne Lennon, in Point Road, Dundalk.
Thomas Reilly moved to Australia where he worked as an engine driver and he enlisted on 1 May 1916 in Sydney. In his attestation papers it was noted that he was a widower, he was 38 years 4 months old and he was 6 feet 1½ inches tall with a dark complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. He left Sydney on 9 September 1916 aboard the Euripides and after a seven-week voyage he arrived in Plymouth on 26 October 1916.
Private Thomas Reilly went to France in mid-January 1917, he served with the 13th Battalion, Australian Infantry and he was wounded in action a few days later on 4 February 1917. He was taken to 1/1 South Midland Casualty Clearing Station in France and two days later he died of a fractured skull.
In his will he had written ‘In the event of my death I give the whole of my property and effects to my mother Elizabeth Reilly’. His personal effects were gathered together and the following items were sent to his mother – buttons, 2 badges, 2 pipes, purse, diary, tobacco pouch, gospel, crucifix, jack knife, comb, pocket knife, post card, card, 3 metal brooches, small book of views, card case and letter.
At the time of Thomas Reilly’s death his daughter Annie Maria was living in Point Road, Dundalk, Co Louth with Anne Lennon her widowed grandmother.
Private Thomas Reilly (No. 6307) was 39 when he died and he was buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France. There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
IN LOVING MEMORY
OF MY DEAR SON TOM
UNTIL THE DAY DAWN
Private Thomas Reilly (No. 6307) is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial.