Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

THOM, Robert Alan

HMAHS Manunda

HMAHS Manunda.

Assistant Purser Robert Thom was born in Melbourne to John Barnard and Margaret Thom on 20 November 1918. He was a Senior Cadet in the 5th Battalion (Victorian Scottish Regiment) from 14 January 1935 and then served as a Private in the Milita Forces, 5th Battalion, from 19 January 1937 to 1 March 1938. 

HMAHS Manunda was anchored in Darwin Harbour near the merchant ship Zealandia and the oil tanker British Motorist when it was first hit by shrapnel and then a bomb during the first Japanese air attack on Darwin, 19 February 1942. Twelve members of the crew and hospital staff were killed, including Robert Thom, and forty-seven others were wounded. The medical and nursing staff quarters were destroyed, B and C decks were severely damaged and fires started on board. Despite the chaos, Manunda continued to treat incoming wounded and staff manned the life-boats, rescuing injured men from the sea.

Robert Thom was killed at the age of twenty-four and left behind a wife, Pauline Nicholson Thom, of Chatswood, New South Wales.

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