Coombs: Tressilian Herbert

Tressilian Herbert Coombs was born at Glenelg on 29th Jan 1893 to Thomas and Emily Coombs.

He attended both Cherry Gardens and Coromandel Valley Public Schools before working as a bricklayer and mason. Prior to his enlistment, Coombs was a member of the local Blackwood Rifle Club and the Blackwood IOOF lodge.

Following the outbreak of war, Tressilian enlisted at Morphettville on 24th August 1914 as Private (Pte) 468, 10th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Standing 5’6” (168cm) tall, Coombs weighed 139lbs (63kg) and was described as having fair skin, blue eyes and light brown hair and his religion was stated as Methodist.

The local community farewelled Tressilian at a Patriotic Fund evening, as reported in the September 1914 edition of the Blackwood Times, before he embarked for overseas duties on HMAT Ascanius on 20th Oct 1914.

After much training in Egypt, the 10th Battalion was part of the Australian forces sent to Gallipoli in April 1915. Tressilian took part in the initial action at the landing on 25th April 1915 and was injured with a gunshot wound to his legs just five days later, on 30th April.

The injury resulted in Tressilian being transferred to the Cairo Military Hospital, Egypt where he made a full recovery. On 24th July 1915 he rejoined his company at Gallipoli. Within a month, his health had worsened due to the unsanitary living conditions at ANZAC Cove. Tressilian reported sick on 12th August 1915 and was admitted to hospital suffering from “Debility”. His condition deteriorated and he died of Enteric Fever aboard the hospital ship Valdivia on 16th August 1915.

In his will, Tressilian left his possessions to his mother, Emily Coombs, then of Woodleigh St, Blackwood. She was awarded a pension of 30/- (30 shillings, or in today's currency, $AU3.00) a fortnight which came into effect as of 12th September 1917.

Tressilian Herbert Coombs was buried in the Mudros East Military Cemetery, Lemnos, Greece. He is remembered on the list of the fallen on the Blackwood War Memorial.

Research by Geoff Lock 2015