When he led his 40th Regiment against the diggers at Eureka, Captain John Wellesley Thomas was already a decorated soldier. Sandhurst-educated and posted to Afghanistan as Ensign in the 1840s, he was promoted to Lieutenant, then Captain and was awarded this Maharajpoor Star on 29 December 1843. In Victoria, as council to Robert Rede and Commander of H.M. 40th Regiment, it fell to Wellesley to coordinate the assault on the Stockade. The entry with his medal reads ‘Captain Thomas was in command and participated in the action at Eurkea Stockade on 3rd December 1854.’ Though wounded in the action, leaving his subordinate to burn the Stockade to the ground, Thomas went on to achieve the rank of Major General and saw service in China before his death.
Prepared by: Ben Mountford
Created: 26 October 2006