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Friday, 11 May 2012

Sergeant Morrish Paul Tonkin MM, 7 Light Horse Regiment, AIF

 
ID Number    PERS014.01

Title               Soldier’s Continuation Pay Book: Sergeant Morrish Paul Tonkin, 7 Light Horse Regiment, AIF

Maker            Unknown

Object Type  
Personal Equipment

Place made     Unknown

Date made      c 1915-1916

Physical          Cardboard; linen; paper
Description

Description
Army Book 64, Soldier's (Continuation) Pay Book for use on Active Service, with red brown glazed linen cover and 16 pages. Period covers 28 September 1916 - 30 April 1917. Owner's details printed on page 3: ‘Regiment or Corps, 7th Light Horse; Squadron, Battery, or Company, B; No., 334; Name in full, Tonkin, Morrish Paul; Date of Attestation, 30/9/14; Age on Enlistment, 19 11/12.

Summary
Morrish Paul Tonkin was a 20 year old farmer from Cronulla, New South Wales when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 30 September 1914. 334 Trooper Tonkin embarked for overseas on board HMAT A33 Ayrshire on 20 December 1914 with B Squadron 7 Light Horse Regiment.  He disembarked in Egypt on 1 February 1915.

Initially light horse units, being mounted, were considered unsuitable for operations on Gallipoli. However, after the landing and infantry casualties mounted, it was decided dismount the light horse and deploy them to reinforce the tenuous ANZAC position. The 7 Light Horse Regiment was sent to Gallipoli in late May and became responsible for a position on the extreme right of the ANZAC line.

On 8 August, Trooper Tonkin was evacuated from Gallipoli due to illness and sent to Egypt. He rejoined his regiment in Gallipoli on 2 October. The 7 Light Horse was in a defensive role until it left the peninsula on 20 December 1915. Trooper Tonkin arrived at Alexandria, Egypt on Christmas Day 1915.

In Egypt, the 7 Light Horse Regiment became part of the ANZAC Mounted Division and, in April 1916, joined the forces defending the Suez Canal from a Turkish advance across the Sinai Desert. It fought at the battle of Romani on 4 August, at Katia the following day, and was involved in the advance that followed the Turkish retreat back across the desert. On 14 August Trooper Tonkin was promoted to Corporal.

The regiment spent late 1916 and early 1917 engaged on patrol work until the British advance into Palestine stalled before the Turkish bastion of Gaza. It was then involved in the two abortive battles to capture Gaza directly on 27 March and 19 April respectively. On 2 June 1917, Tonkin attended on a 2 week Hotchkiss Machine Gun Course. On 31 October, the 7 Light Horse participated in the wide outflanking move via Beersheba that ultimately led to the fall of Gaza.

When Gaza fell on 7 November 1917, the Turkish positions in southern Palestine collapsed. The 7 Light Horse Regiment was involved in the pursuit that followed and led to the capture of Jerusalem in December. The focus of British operations then moved to the Jordan Valley. In 1918 the 7 Light Horse Regiment was involved in the raids on Amman between 24 and 27 February and Es Salt on 30 April to 4 May. Corporal Tonkin was promoted to Sergeant on 17 June. On 14 July the regiment also helped defeat a joint Turkish-German attack launched on the Jordan bridgehead around Musallabeh. 

The next major British offensive was launched along the coast in September 1918, and the 7 Light Horse Regiment took part in a subsidiary effort east of the Jordan. It was part of the force that captured Amman on 25 September. The next day Sergeant Tonkin was awarded the Military Medal (research is currently being undertaken to obtain a copy of the MM citation). The capture of Amman proved to be the 7 Light Horse’s last major engagement of the war as Turkey surrendered on 30 October 1918.

On 15 November 1918, Sergeant Tonkin MM embarked for Australia on 1914 leave. He arrived in Australia on 26 December and discharged on 24 February 1919 earning the total sum of 600 Pounds for his war service.

Morrish Tonkin again served his country, during the Second World War from 9 Sep 1941 to 1 Nov 1945.

Also see PERS014.02, 03, and 04.


 ID Number    PERS014.02

Title               Soldier’s pay book: Sergeant Morrish Paul Tonkin, 7 Light Horse Regiment, AIF
Maker            Unknown

Object Type  
Personal Equipment

Place made     Unknown

Date made      c 1916 -1917

Physical          Paper; missing cardboard and linen cover
Description

Description
Soldier's pay book, serial number 236790. It is missing its dark brown glazed linen cover and has 19 pages. Period covers 1 May 1917 - 24 February 1919. Owner's pay details printed on front cover: ‘Pay-Book No. 236790; Surname, TONKIN; Christian Names, Morrish Paul; Regimental No., 344; Religion, C of E; Rank, Tpr (crossed out and replaced with Sgt); Date of Attestation, 30/9/14; Age on Enlistment, 19 11/12; Unit, 7 ALH Regt.


ID Number    PERS014.03

Title               Pay Book Cover: Sergeant Morrish Paul Tonkin, 7 Light Horse Regiment, AIF

Maker            Unknown

Object Type  
Personal Equipment

Place made     Unknown

Date made      c 1916 -1917

Physical          Cardboard; impregnated linen
Description

Description

A dark brown impregnated linen cover designed to hold the Soldier’s Pay Book and to protect it from moisture. On the cover is hand written “No. 334 M P Tonkin 7th ALH Regt”.


ID Number    PERS014.03

Title               Transport Ship’s Berthing Card: Sergeant Morrish Paul Tonkin, 7 Light Horse Regiment, AIF

Maker            Unknown

Object Type  
Personal Equipment

Place made     Unknown

Date made      c 1918

Physical          Cardboard
Description

Description
A printed cardboard berthing card for the SS Port Darwin issued to 334 Sergeant Morrish Paul Tonkin MM, 7 Light Horse Regiment, when he returned to Australia in November 1918. It shows his berthing location, boat station and mess hall location.


Sergeant Morrish Paul Tonkin MM 7 Light Horse Regiment wearing his Military Medal circa 1920.


Morrish Paul Tonkin on his mount circa 1917-1918. Both photographs courtesy of Morrish's son Mr. Graham H. Tonkin.

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