Major Thomas ‘Tom’ Logan: 2nd Light Horse Regiment
Guest blogger: Lockyer Valley Regional Council.
Displayed in the ‘Walk of Fame’ inside the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre, Gatton, are ten photographic portraits of Lockyer Valley locals who fought in the First World War. The portraits formed a component of the recent Queensland Government-sponsored exhibition ‘Queensland Transport Museum Salutes 100 Years of ANZAC’, which was on display in the adjacent Queensland Transport Museum from 11 April to 30 June 2015, and featured First World War motorised and horse drawn machinery.
This post is the seventh in a series which will feature the ten Lockyer locals whose portraits and biographies are in the ‘Walk of Fame’. Where possible, we will supplement their stories with some images from the State Library of Queensland or Australian War Memorial collections. We acknowledge the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Derek Barry and Russell Tattam for allowing us to share their content, which can also be found on the Lockyer Valley Libraries catalogue and Flickr.
Major Thomas James ‘Tom’ Logan was born on March 30, 1877 in Brookfield near Brisbane to parents Whitmore and Harriet Logan (nee Josey). He was the eldest of seven boys and six girls. Five of the boys enlisted in the First World War with Tom being the only one to be killed in action.
Tom first saw conflict in the Boer War in South Africa where he served with the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry, leaving Brisbane in November 1899. A trooper at first, he soon gained his corporal’s stripes and saw action at Kimberley, Paardeberg, Vet River, Zand River and Diamond Hill. He received a flesh wound when a bullet passed through the neck of his horse and cut his own neck. He was awarded the Queen's Medal with five clasps, and returned to Brisbane in January 1901, after an arduous campaign. On his return, Tom resumed farming at Forest Hill and remained in the militia, progressing to be captain of the Gatton Light Horse Troop.
When the Great War broke out in August 1914, at age 37, he re-enlisted and was immediately appointed a major in command of “A” Squadron of the Queensland-based 2nd Light Horse Regiment. They embarked from Brisbane on board HMAT Star of England on September 24, 1914, destined for Europe. After an extended stay in Egypt for training, they were sent to Gallipoli in May 1915. The regiment played a defensive role for most of the Gallipoli campaign, some of which was spent at Quinn’s Post, one of the most contested positions along the Anzac line.
On 6 and 7 August 1915, attacks on the whole front line by the Anzac Division were ordered as a diversion for the British landing at Suvla Bay. These attacks included 200 men of the 2nd Light Horse Regiment who were to charge the Turkish trenches in four waves, from Quinn's Post. Turkish Maxim machine guns had their arc of fire on no-man’s land and when “A” Squadron “D” Troop, led by Major Logan and Lt. Burge charged, they were cut down in a matter of seconds. Major Logan, Lt. Burge and 14 other ranks were killed and 36 wounded, with many troops hit multiple times. Harry Topp recalled Tom shouting, "Get back boys, it's too hot". Bill O'Brien recalled him saying, "Keep going Billy, I'm done", and Lt. Joe Burge calling out “Go back boys”, as they fell. In the same charge, Major Logan’s youngest brother Josey (Joe) was hit five times by machine gun fire. Only one man escaped injury in the charge. Temporary commander Major Bourne postponed further attacks believing the whole regiment could be wiped out. Three of Tom’s brothers also served at Gallopoli with him.
At 38 years of age, Tom left behind his wife Beatrice and six children. His Forest Hill memorial service was a massive affair, with a holiday declared at the local school so all students could attend. Tom was the Chairman of the School Committee, along with other positions he held in Forest Hill. Beatrice received his last letter dated 4th August, after his death, with extracts as follows:
My Dear Wife,
Three months today since we landed here. Still alive and hearty. Just came out of the trenches after a week there yesterday. Have to go into them again tomorrow. Getting very tired of this warfare. Would much rather be on the old gee-gee. In one part of the trenches we are going into tomorrow, the Turks are only 8 feet away. Not far eh! Joe is looking quite well and so are the rest of the Forest Hill boys who are here. It’s fearfully hot and everyone is burnt black… Love to all at home and fondest love to your own dear self and our little ones.