Family Portraits from 1750
Edward LLewellen Cory-Thomas
He was born Edward Llewellyn Cory-Thomas, January 5, 1890 in Chicago, Illinois. After his mother,
Mary Zoella Cory-Thomas
died in 1895 he went to England with his father,
He studied in England, in Wiesbaden Germany and in Switzerland. By the age of 16 he was in Alberta Canada working on his father's newspaper the Camrose Mail. When that venture failed he worked his way through the southern U.S. winding up in Vancouver B.C where he worked on his father's newspaper, the Vancouver Mail.
LLewellyn aged 18
By the age of twenty he was off to Australia. In 1911, he took a job as printer and teacher for The Methodist Mission in Rabaul, New Guinea. He left the mission in 1912 and went trading for the German firm of HASAG. He married
Catherine Mary Thomas
In 1913 he later became an overseer for a company in Bougainville. When World War I began, he was treated decently as a prisoner on parole until in Dec. 1914, the Australian Troops freed him. He joined the 19th Batallion and went to France where he suffered gassing and wounding. After serving in the United Kingdom, he came back to Australia suffering from heart trouble. When he returned to the territory, he was editor of the Rabaul Times, the local weekly for two periods; 1925-27 and 1933-50. Other than the years of internment by the Japanese, the rest of his years in the territory were spent in trading, management, overseeing, and as an assistant oil driller at Matapau, in the Sepik District when New Guinea oil search was centred there.
Letter from Buka 1930
Letter from Buka 1931
When the Japanese invaded Rabaul in January, 1941, over 300 civilians were trapped there. They were eventually shipped to Japan on the Montevideo Maru which was sunk with all hands before she reached her distination. For reasons of their own, the Japanese retained half a dozen civilians in Rabaul to work as rouse-abouts at the freezer and power station. Gordon Thomas was one of these. He was one of three to survive.
Between the wars, under the psuedonym of Don Gordon, wrote innumerable magazine articles, a book of verse (Echoes of the South Seas), and a novel (Tropic Equations.) After the WWII he wrote a manuscript that described his time as a Japanese prisoner on Rabaul. There is microfilmed copy of the manuscript at the
Pacific Manuscripts Bureau in Canberra Australia
. I read a copy of the manuscript that was available on interlibrary loan from the library at USC.
from Cambelltown Australia
in the Pacific Island Monthly