Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Thomas (Joseph) Lynch (1860–1921)

by R. Sutton

This article was published:

Thomas (Joseph) Lynch (1860-1921), soldier, was born on 11 September 1860 at Coolamatong near Cooma, New South Wales, son of Thomas Lynch, storekeeper, and his wife Ellen, née Kane, both from Ireland. After attending St Patrick's College, Goulburn, he enlisted in the New South Wales Artillery on 18 January 1879. By 1885 he had been promoted sergeant and he served during the Sudan War with the field battery of the New South Wales Contingent. After training on 9-pounder guns issued in Suakin the battery moved to Handoub on 17 April and until returning to Suakin on 14 May provided mounted men to accompany the 20th Hussars on patrol. On 17 May the contingent left for Australia and at Colombo Lynch was disembarked for treatment of enteric fever.

In 1886 Sergeant Lynch topped the first course at the newly established School of Gunnery at Middle Head, Sydney. From February to July 1887 he was an assistant instructor there and qualified as master gunner, 3rd class. He married Louisa Maria Johnson at Watson's Bay on 14 February 1888; they had no children. On 1 January 1894 he was promoted master gunner, 1st class (warrant officer) and was appointed assistant fire-master, New South Wales Field Artillery Regiment.

After the outbreak of the South African War Lynch was commissioned second lieutenant in the New South Wales Citizens' Bushmen and on 1 April 1900 was promoted lieutenant. The regiment landed at Biera, Mozambique, on 11 April then moved to Marandellas in Rhodesia and Lynch's detachment marched as a convoy escort for over 300 miles (483 km) to Bulawayo. On 13 July he was transferred to the New Zealand Battery of the Rhodesian Field Force. He was invalided home in October but in April 1901 returned to rejoin the Citizens' Bushmen. Allotted to the Royal Army Service Corps, he was promoted captain and appointed transport officer of Colonel St George Henry's column. In August he was invalided home again and on 14 January 1902 became assistant fire-master, and in October regimental sergeant major, Royal Australian Artillery (New South Wales). From 1 June he was quartermaster, with the rank of honorary lieutenant, on the Administrative and Instructional Staff. Promoted honorary major on 8 May 1913, from July he was adjutant, 6th Field Artillery Brigade.

When World War I began Lynch was appointed brigade major, 2nd Light Horse Brigade, Australian Imperial Force, on 17 September 1914. The brigade embarked from Egypt on 16 May 1915 for service on Gallipoli; on 10 June Lynch was seconded for duty as camp commandant, 1st Division Headquarters, but on 23 June he was admitted to hospital with conjunctivitis. He remained on Gallipoli, through the heavy fighting in August, until the evacuation to Egypt in December. Suffering from general debility, Lynch embarked for Australia on 3 March 1916 and on 14 April was discharged from the A.I.F. He then resumed the appointment of adjutant, 6th Field Artillery Brigade, Australian Military Forces and from 1 January 1918 he was temporarily brigade major, 5th Infantry Brigade Area. He was promoted major in 1919 and retired in 1920 as an honorary lieutenant-colonel.

Lynch died of pernicious anaemia on 30 November 1921 and was buried in the Catholic section of Randwick cemetery. He is remembered for his leadership, training and administrative qualities in war and peace and for active service spanning Australian involvement in three wars.

Select Bibliography

  • History of the Origin and Formation of the Field Artillery of New South Wales (Syd, 1895)
  • J. Green, The Story of the Australian Bushmen (Syd, 1903)
  • (Staff officer at Victoria Barracks), Historical Record of the New South Wales Regiment of Royal Australian Artillery (Syd, 1903)
  • Australian Defence Department, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, P. L. Murray ed (Melb, 1911)
  • R. Sutton, For Queen and Empire (Syd, 1974)
  • R. L. Wallace, The Australians at the Boer War (Canb, 1976)
  • R. Cubis, A History of ‘A’ Battery, New South Wales Artillery (1871-1899), Royal Australian Artillery (1899-1971) (Syd, 1978)
  • W. St. P. Bunbury, Beginning of the School of Gunnery at Middle Head (manuscript, Royal Australian Historical Society, Sydney)
  • records (Dept of Veterans' Affairs (Canberra), and Australian War Memorial)
  • private information.

Citation details

R. Sutton, 'Lynch, Thomas (Joseph) (1860–1921)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 23 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (Melbourne University Press), 1986

View the front pages for Volume 10

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


11 September, 1860
Coolamatong, New South Wales, Australia


30 November, 1921 (aged 61)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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