THOM, Robert Alan
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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