Thomas George Rayment was born in November 1895 at Windeyer, New South Wales, Australia, to strict Methodists parents named Emily and Thomas George Rayment. The fact that he and his father had exactly the same names quickly proved to be a source of more than a little confusion, as a result of which Thomas George Rayment (Junior) soon became known simply as “Tom Rayment” by almost everyone, including his parents.
Following the completion of his education at the local Windeyer Public School, he managed to find employment as a Grocer’s assistant but after a few years he decided that, since the first World War was then raging and he was unmarried, there was a good opportunity for him to see the World and to “do his bit” alongside many other unmarried men. Consequently on 21st February 1916 he went to Bathurst in New South Wales and there he enlisted in the Australian Army.
On 22 May 1916, after just three months military training, he and his Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board the ship HMAT (His Majesty’s Australian Transport) A69 Warilda, a 7713-ton vessel bound for the Western Front in Europe.
He saw nearly a year of action on the Western Front with the 45th Australian Infantry Battalion and on the afternoon of Thursday 7th June 1917 his unit were supporting the New Zealanders at a battle in Messines, Belgium when he was shot through the stomach whilst standing next to Sergeant B. Smith. He fell to the ground without uttering a single word and was taken to number 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, where he died of his wounds on 12th June 1917, aged 21¾.
He was buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension (Plot III, Row C, Grave No. 49) in France but is also remembered on the Australian National War Memorial at Treloar Crescent in Campbell, ACT.
Although there are no known photographs of him in his army uniform, a studio portrait of him that was made about a year prior to his enlistment in the 45th Australian Infantry Battalion is shown above (left).