Thomas Price (soldier)

Last updated

Thomas Price
Born(1842-10-21)21 October 1842
Hobart, Tasmania
Died 3 July 1911(1911-07-03) (aged 68)
Warrnambool, Victoria
Buried Melbourne General Cemetery
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Indian Army
Victoria Military Force
Years of service 1861–1883
Rank Colonel
Commands held Victorian Mounted Rifles
Victorian Rangers
Battles/wars Second Boer War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Mentioned in Despatches

Thomas Caradoc Rose Price CB (21 October 1842 – 3 July 1911), often known as Colonel Tom Price, was an Australian soldier, and acting commandant of the Commonwealth Military Forces in Victoria in 1902. Joining the British Indian Army in his early years, he served 20 years in India before returning to Australia. In 1885, he raised the Victorian Mounted Rifles, and was instrumental in establishing the concept of light horse units within the Australian Army. In 1900, he led a Victorian contingent during the Second Boer War, and was the only Australian officer during that war to command a force of British regulars. He remained in the Australian military after the war, serving in Queensland until 1904 when he was medically discharged. He retired to Victoria again and died in 1911 at the age of 68.

Order of the Bath series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

Victoria (Australia) State in Australia

Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state and its second-most populous state overall, thus making it the most densely populated state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Geographically the smallest state on the Australian mainland, Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, and South Australia to the west.

British Indian Army 1858-1947 land warfare branch of British Indias military, distinct from the British Army in India

The Indian Army (IA), often known since 1947 as the British Indian Army to distinguish it from the current Indian Army, was the principal military of the British Indian Empire before its decommissioning in 1947. It was responsible for the defence of both the British Indian Empire and the princely states, which could also have their own armies. The Indian Army was an important part of the British Empire's forces, both in India and abroad, particularly during the First World War and the Second World War.


Early life

Price was born in Hobart, Tasmania, on 21 October 1842. [1] He was the fourth son of John Price, a police magistrate and convict superintendent, who was the fourth son of Cornish Australian [2] Sir Rose Price, 1st Baronet of the Price Baronets. [3] He received some basic education in Hobart and from 1854 was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne. In December 1859, he entered the East India Military College, in Addiscombe, England, and was commissioned in 1861 into the Madras Infantry. [4]

Scotch College, Melbourne school in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Scotch College is an independent Presbyterian day and boarding school for boys, located in Hawthorn, an inner-eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Addiscombe Military Seminary British military academy

The East India Company Military Seminary was a British military academy at Addiscombe, Surrey, in what is now the London Borough of Croydon. It opened in 1809 and closed in 1861. Its purpose was to train young officers to serve in the East India Company’s private army in India.

Military career

Price undertook twenty years of service in India with several different regiments, [4] during which time he was also seconded as a police superintendent. [1] He retired from the army in 1883 with the rank of lieutenant colonel and returned to Australia, securing a plot of farm land around Heidelberg, Victoria. In 1885, he was appointed to the Victorian Military Forces, taking up a commission as an officer in its small permanent force. He subsequently formed the Victorian Mounted Rifles, an early light horse unit that helped establish the concept within the Australian military, which was raised from volunteers recruited from men based in rural Victoria. In establishing his new unit, Price obtained permission to dress them in khaki, instead of the red or blue uniforms that had been common at the time. [1] He also instituted the slouch hat as an item of their uniform, which subsequently became a defining icon of the modern Australian Army. [5] In 1888, he briefly took command of the Victorian Rangers, commanding them until 1889. [1] During a civil disturbance in Melbourne in 1890 when maritime workers went on strike, Price's unit was called out to aid civilian police. The orders that he gave to his men to fire on the strikers if necessary later led to him being criticised by Premier Duncan Gillies and appearing before a court of inquiry. In the end, his actions were upheld and ultimately the strike was resolved peacefully. [1]

Lieutenant colonel (pronounced Lef-ten-ent Kernel or Loo-ten-ent Kernel ) is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies, most marine forces and some air forces of the world, above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence. Sometimes, the term, 'half-colonel' is used in casual conversation in the British Army. A lieutenant colonel is typically in charge of a battalion in the army.

Heidelberg, Victoria Suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Heidelberg is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 12 km north-east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Banyule. In 2016, Heidelberg had a population of 6,225.

The Victorian Mounted Rifles (VMR) was a regiment composed of Australian forces that served in the Second Boer War. It was first raised by Colonel Tom Price in the mid-1880s, composed of voluntary forces. It was composed of several contingents, the most notable being the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles.

A Company of the Victorian Mounted Rifles on manoeuvres in Victoria in 1889. Frank Dadd - Company of the Victorian Mounted Rifles on manoeuvres in Victoria in 1889.jpg
A Company of the Victorian Mounted Rifles on manoeuvres in Victoria in 1889.

In 1900, Price saw action in South Africa in the Second Boer War in command of the second Victorian contingent and was mentioned in despatches. He also commanded a force that included British regulars during the conflict, the only Australian commander to do so during the war. After his return from South Africa, he was briefly assigned the position of State commandant of the Victorian forces. This was the second highest position available to an officer at the time in Australia. He held the position between March and July 1902, before relinquishing the position to assume the same role in Queensland. He served there until he retired, medically unfit, in August 1904. [1]

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

Second Boer War war between South African Republic and the United Kingdom

The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought them to terms.

Queensland North-east state of Australia

Queensland is the second-largest and third-most populous state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, with Papua New Guinea located less than 200 km across it from the mainland. The state is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity, with an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi).

Later life

Following his discharge, Price retired to Warrnambool, Victoria, his health having been affected by his services in India and South Africa. He lived there until his death on 3 July 1911. He was buried with military honours in the Melbourne General Cemetery. He married twice, firstly in 1874 to Mary, daughter of Thomas Baillie, who died in 1899, and secondly in 1902 to Emeline Shadforth, daughter of the Robert Reid. Emeline survived him with three sons; Price's daughter from his first marriage also survived him. [4] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1900. [1] One of his sons died on active service with the Royal Navy during World War I, while another reached the rank of brigadier in the British Army. [4] [3]

Melbourne General Cemetery cemetery in Melbourne, Australia

The Melbourne General Cemetery is a large necropolis located 2 km (1.2 mi) north of the city of Melbourne in the suburb of Carlton North.

Robert Dyce Reid was a pastoralist and politician in colonial Victoria (Australia), member of the Victorian Legislative Council.

Related Research Articles

William Bridges (general) Australian general

Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges, was a senior Australian Army officer who was instrumental in establishing the Royal Military College, Duntroon and who served as the first Australian Chief of the General Staff. During the First World War he commanded the 1st Australian Division at Gallipoli, where he died of wounds on 18 May 1915, becoming the first Australian general officer to be killed during the war. He was the first Australian—and the first graduate of Kingston—to reach the rank of major general, the first to command a division, and the first to receive a knighthood. He is one of only two Australians killed in action in the Great War to be interred in Australia.

Slouch hat wide-brimmed soft felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform

A slouch hat is a wide-brimmed felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform, often, although not always, with a chinstrap. It has been worn by military personnel from many different nations including Australia, Britain, India, New Zealand, Southern Rhodesia, France, the United States, the Confederate States, Germany and many others. Australia and New Zealand have had various models of slouch hat as standard issue headwear since the late Victorian period.

Wilbur Dartnell Soldier, Victoria Cross recipient

William Thomas Dartnell, VC, also known as Wilbur Taylor Dartnell, was an Australian-born soldier, actor and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Born in Melbourne, he served in the Second Boer War as a teenager and later in the Bambatha Rebellion of 1906. He married, managed his own business and worked as a professional actor before immigrating to South Africa in 1912 or 1913.

Edward Hutton (British Army officer) British Army general

Lieutenant General Sir Edward Thomas Henry Hutton, was a British military commander, who pioneered the use of mounted infantry in the British Army and later commanded the Canadian Militia and the Australian Army.

Charles Brand (general) Australian politician

Major General Charles Henry Brand, was an Australian Army officer and politician. He rose to the rank of brigadier general in the First World War, retired as a major general in 1933 and was elected to the Australian Senate representing Victoria for the United Australia Party from 1935 to 1947.

Godfrey Irving Australian general

Major General Godfrey George Howy Irving was a senior Australian Army officer during the First World War.

Carl Jess Australian Army officer

Lieutenant General Sir Carl Herman Jess, was an Australian Army officer who served in the First and Second World Wars.

8th Battalion (Australia)

The 8th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. Initially raised in 1914 for the First Australian Imperial Force during the First World War the battalion was completely recruited from Victoria and formed part of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division. During the war it fought at Gallipoli and in France and Belgium on the Western Front. It was disbanded in 1919, before being re-raised as a Militia battalion in 1921. During the Second World War the 8th Battalion was used primarily as a garrison unit before taking part in the Bougainville campaign late in the war. It was disbanded again in 1946 during the demobilisation process, although it was reformed again in 1948 when it was amalgamated with the 7th Battalion. Today, its honours and traditions are perpetuated by the 8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment.

Edmund Herring Australian Army general during World War II and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria

Lieutenant General Sir Edmund Francis Herring, was a senior Australian Army officer during the Second World War, Lieutenant Governor of Victoria, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria. A Rhodes scholar, Herring was at New College, Oxford, when the First World War broke out and served with the Royal Field Artillery on the Macedonian front, for which he was awarded the Military Cross and Distinguished Service Order. After the war he carved out a successful career as a barrister and King's Counsel. He also joined the Australian Army, rising to the rank of colonel by 1939.

Victorian Scottish Regiment

The Victorian Scottish Regiment (VSR) was an infantry regiment of the Australian Army. Formed in 1898 as a volunteer unit of the colonial Victorian Military Forces, the unit went through a number of changes in name over the course of its 62-year history. During World War I many of its members volunteered for overseas service and saw action at Gallipoli and on the Western Front in France. Following the end of the war, the regiment was reorganised to perpetuate the honours of the 5th Battalion, AIF. During World War II the battalion was employed on garrison duties in Australia, although many of its members volunteered for overseas service and fought in campaigns in North Africa, the Middle East and New Guinea. Following the war, the battalion was re-raised as part of the Citizen Military Forces and undertook the training of national servicemen until 1960 when the unit was disbanded and absorbed into the 1st Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment. Today, the regiment's traditions are maintained by 'B' Company, 5th/6th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment.

John Hoad Australian general

Major General Sir John Charles Hoad was an Australian military leader, best known as the Australian Army's second Chief of the General Staff.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Edmond Courtney CB, VD was an Australian soldier during the First World War. Courtney's Post, now the site of a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula, is named in his honour.

Alister Murdoch RAAF Chief of the Air Staff

Air Marshal Sir Alister Murray Murdoch, was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He served as Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) from 1965 to 1969. Joining the Air Force in 1930, Murdoch trained as a seaplane pilot, and participated in an Antarctic rescue mission for lost explorers in 1935. During World War II, he commanded No. 221 Squadron RAF in Europe and the Middle East, and later occupied senior positions on the staff of RAAF formations in the South West Pacific. His post-war appointments included Commandant of RAAF College from 1952 to 1953, Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Training Command from 1953 to 1955, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff from 1958 to 1959, and AOC Operational Command from 1962 to 1965.

Eric Harrison (RAAF officer) Royal Australian Air Force officer

Eric Harrison was an Australian aviator who made the country's first military flight, and helped lay the groundwork for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Born in Victoria, he was a flying instructor in Britain when, in 1912, he answered the Australian Defence Department's call for pilots to form an aviation school. Along with Henry Petre, he established Australia's first air base at Point Cook, Victoria, and its inaugural training unit, the Central Flying School (CFS), before making his historic flight in March 1914. Following the outbreak of World War I, when Petre went on active service with the Mesopotamian Half Flight, Harrison took charge of instructing student pilots of the Australian Flying Corps at CFS.

Brigadier Hugh Wrigley, was a senior officer of the Australian Army who served in the First and Second World Wars. He also served with the Indian Army between 1917 and 1922. After returning to Australia in 1922, Wrigley worked as an oil company representative in New South Wales and Victoria and served in the Citizens Military Force. During the Second World War he volunteered for overseas service and fought in Greece, where he commanded the 2/6th Battalion. In North Africa, Wrigley commanded the 20th Brigade, leading them during the Second Battle of El Alamein. Later in the war he commanded the 33rd Brigade in the Netherlands East Indies where he took responsibility for overseeing the repatriation of a large number of Australian and British personnel. After the war, Wrigley worked as a public servant in the area of trade and commerce, serving in a number of overseas posts. He died in 1980 at the age of 88.

John Whitelaw (general, born 1894) Australian general (1894–1964)

Major General John Stewart Whitelaw, was a senior officer in the Australian Army. Whitelaw was a graduate of the first intake of the Royal Military College, Duntroon and served briefly at Gallipoli with an infantry battalion during the First World War. His war service was, however, cut short by a bullet wound suffered during the landing on 25 April 1915 and he returned to Australia where, during the interwar years, he transferred to the artillery and undertook a number of staff and instructional postings. During the Second World War, although he did not serve overseas in an operational role, in his capacity as a senior artillery officer Whitelaw had responsibility for all matters relating to the development of artillery in the Australian Army and in this role he championed the introduction of new technologies and weaponry into the corps and the development of Australian defence industries.

Ronald Hopkins Australian general

Major General Ronald Nicholas Lamond Hopkins CBE was a senior officer in the Australian Army. He began his military career in 1915 when he entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon as a staff cadet and graduated as a lieutenant in the Permanent Forces in late 1917. Following this, he was deployed overseas and subsequently served in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign during the First World War. During the inter war years, Hopkins undertook a variety of regimental and staff positions in Australia, India and the United Kingdom. During the Second World War, he was promoted several times, briefly commanding the 7th Division Cavalry Regiment and was deployed to the Middle East before returning to Australia to undertook further staff positions. In this role he played a key role in organising the Australian Armoured Corps before later serving as a liaison officer to American forces taking part in the New Guinea campaign. Following the war, Hopkins commanded the 34th Brigade in Japan, before finishing his career as Commandant of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. In retirement he wrote a comprehensive history of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps before he died in 1990 at the age of 93.

38th Battalion (Australia)

The 38th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. Originally formed in 1916 for service overseas during World War I as part of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), the battalion was recruited from the state of Victoria and formed part of the 10th Brigade, 3rd Division. It served throughout the war on the Western Front before being disbanded in 1919. During the inter-war years, the battalion was re-raised as a part-time military unit and during the World War II undertook garrison duties in Australia, but did not see combat. After the war, it was re-formed in Victoria and was eventually subsumed into the Royal Victoria Regiment, with its honours and traditions being preserved by the 8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment.

The Australian Regiment was a regiment of troops from the Australian colonies that served in the Second Boer War. It began its existence as infantry but was soon mounted due to the conditions of the war.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Dennis et al 1995, p. 472.
  2. Rowse, A.L. The Cousin Jacks, The Cornish in America
  3. 1 2 Searle 1949.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Coulthard-Clark 1988, pp. 289–290.
  5. Aitken, Peter. "The Slouch Hat: Trademark of the Australian Army". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
<i>Australian Dictionary of Biography</i> Dictionary of Biographies

The Australian Dictionary of Biography is a national co-operative enterprise founded and maintained by the Australian National University (ANU) to produce authoritative biographical articles on eminent people in Australia's history. Initially published in a series of twelve hard-copy volumes between 1966 and 2005, the dictionary has been published online since 2006.

Jeffrey Grey Australian military historian

Jeffrey Guy Grey was an Australian military historian. He wrote two volumes of The Official History of Australia's Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975, and several other high-profile works on Australia's military history. He was the first non-American to become the president of the Society for Military History, but is perhaps best known as the author of A Military History of Australia.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.