|Trooper Edward Richard Thomas|
Photo: The Otago Witness, Collection of
Toitū Otago Settlers Museum
Edward Richard Thomas was born in Otautau in 1882 to Thomas & Jessie Thomas of Yellow Bluff. Thomas was a contractor in the area. Of their four sons, three went to World War I.
Edward had been a member of the Wallace Mounted Rifles for nine years and was working as a contractor when he enlisted in August 1914.
Trooper Thomas served with the Otago Mounted Rifles, service number 9/350. After his New Zealand training, he was sent overseas in October 1914 and served in Egypt. In May 1015, he embarked for the Dardanelles. Among the melee of the fighting at Gallipoli, he was missing presumed killed action on 21 Aug 1915, aged 33.
His younger brothers, Charles and Robert, joined the war after Edward died. Both were discharged later as being unfit for war service and sent home. Robert had his left forearm amputated after a shell attack.