|CAMDEN DISTRICT ROLL OF HONOUR
Astley John Onslow THOMPSON (Lieutenant Colonel VD)
Birth: 3 Jan 1865 Ynys House, Eglwysilan, Pontypridd, Glamorganshire, Wales
Death: 26 Apr 1915 (age 50) Gallipoli, Turkey, Killed in Action
Cemetery or Memorial: 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey
Soldiers' Memorial Macarthur Park Camden
Father: Astley J THOMPSON
Mother: Udea Marianna Moriarty ONSLOW (2 Aug 1840 - 9 Dec 1883)
Astley was educated at the Rugby School in England. He was General Manager of the Camden Park Estate in the 1880s-1910s and also President of the Camden Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society.
Prior to enlistment he had served 22 years in the NSW Mounted Rifles and the Australian Light Horse. He enlisted on 1st September 1914 in Camden and served with the 4th Battalion A.I.F.
He gave his eldest brother Ivor William Onslow Thompson of Singleton and later Manilla NSW as his next of kin.
Astley was promoted from Major to Lieutenant Colonel on 17th September 1914 and departed Sydney in the 'Euripedes' on 20th October 1914.
He was mentioned in dispatches by Sir Ian Hamilton 12 June 1915. He displayed gallantry in personally leading his battalion with a rifle and bayonet during the advance.(Reported by Major Storey and Lieut. Massie)
(From the Official History of Australia in the war of 1914 - 1918. The Story of Anzac. Volume 1. C. E. W. Bean. University of Queensland Press, page 493.)
The 4th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. Like the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions it was recruited from New South Wales and, together with these other battalions, formed the 1st Brigade.
The battalion was raised within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving on 2 December.
The battalion took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 as part of the second and third waves. The commander of the 4th Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel A. J. O. Thompson, was killed the next day. At ANZAC, the battalion took part in the defence of the beachhead and in August, along with the rest of the 1st Brigade, led the charge at Lone Pine. The battalion served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December.
Colonel Onslow Thompson and others who were with him, their line having gone and no instructions having been received, decided to return to the Australian lines. They endeavoured to reach them, not by direct retirement, but by moving forward diagonally to their left. As they did so, the Turks opened fire. Onslow Thompson was killed. Lieutenant Massie picked up his body and carried it towards the trenches, but the fire proved too severe. The Colonel's body remained in front of the line until it was found by the 3rd Battalion when digging a forward sap on May 11th.
Colonel Astley John Onslow Thompson was killed in action on 26 April 1915 at Gallipoli Turkey age 50.
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