John Wellesley Thomas

Lieutenant-General Sir John Wellesley Thomas, KCB (22 May 1822 – 6 February 1908) was a distinguished British military officer who served in Afghanistan, Australia, and China. He was the commander of the British military and police forces that quelled the rebellion at the Eureka Stockade in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1854.

Sir John Thomas
Lieut-General John Wellesley Thomas, CB.jpg
Born22 May 1822[1]
Bath, Somerset
Died6 February 1908
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1839–1881
Commands held67th (South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot
Battles/warsFirst Anglo-Afghan War
Eureka Rebellion
Second Opium War
Taiping Rebellion
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Mentioned in Despatches
Other workColonel of the Hampshire Regiment (1893–1908)

Thomas, who was an elder son of the Admiral Jennings Thomas, was born in 1822. He received his first commission in 1839 and served with the 40th Regiment of Foot in Afghanistan in 1841–42, during the First Anglo-Afghan War. He was present at the action of Maharajpur when he was severely wounded. His decorations for those engagements included the clasps "Kandahar, Kabul, Ghuznee" and the bronze start for Maharajpur. In 1854 he commanded detachments in the operations in Australia against rebellious minors on the Ballarat goldfields. In North China, in 1860 he served with the 67th Regiment of Foot and was wounded when in command of a half-battalion attacking the North Taku Fort. For this campaign he was mentioned in despatches and appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath.[2] Two years later, when being promoted to colonel,[3] he commanded the 67th Regiment and a brigade at the second capture of Khading in the Taiping Rebellion. This was his last active service. He was promoted to major general in 1877,[4] and retired in 1881 with the honorary rank of lieutenant general.[5] In 1882 he was appointed to the colonelcy of the Hampshire Regiment,[6] and in 1904 was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.[7][8]

Thomas died 8 February 1908,[9] and was buried at Kensal Green, London.[8]


  1. ^ Addison, Henry Robert; Oakes, Charles Henry; Lawson, William John; Sladen, Douglas Brooke Wheelton (1905). Who's who. A. & C. Black. p. 1590. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  2. ^ "No. 22485". The London Gazette. 1 March 1861. pp. 1006–1007.
  3. ^ "No. 22804". The London Gazette. 8 January 1864. p. 100.
  4. ^ "No. 24508". The London Gazette. 2 October 1877. p. 5459.
  5. ^ "No. 25039". The London Gazette. 18 November 1881. p. 5620.
  6. ^ "No. 26476". The London Gazette. 16 January 1894. p. 316.
  7. ^ "No. 27688". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 June 1904. p. 4007.
  8. ^ a b "Obituary". The Times. 8 February 1908. p. 10. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
Military offices
Preceded by
Thomas Edmond Knox
Colonel of the Hampshire Regiment
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Benjamin Knowles