Thomas Joseph Dalton was born at Wheatley in North Sydney in 1893. His father was Thomas Garrett (“Gatty”) Dalton MA, LLB, and Mayor of Orange in 1903, 1904 and 1905. His grandfather, also called Thomas, built Duntryleague and founded Dalton Brothers Stores.
Thomas was the fifth of six children born to Gatty and his wife Mary Helene Condon. He spent his childhood at Killiney in Kite Street, a house built in 1875 by his grandfather, and now known as Mena. He was educated at St Ignatius’ College at Riverview.
20-year-old Tom was one of the first men in Orange to enlist, doing so on 22 August 1914. He attended camp in Sydney for several months before embarking in October, a Private in the 1st Light Horse Regiment. In May 1915 he joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and proceeded to Gallipoli, where he was appointed Temporary Colonel.
Following the evacuation of Gallipoli Tom transferred to the 15th Field Artillery Brigade in Egypt. In March 1917 he proceeded to France and served on the Western Front at Passchendaele and Ypres.
Tom returned to Australia in December 1918 and dedicated his time to the Dalton Brothers family business. He later became chairman of the board of directors. In 1926 Thomas married Doris Morrissey and the couple had three children; Elizabeth, Thomas and Rosemary.
Thomas died in Orange on 20 December 1979, aged 86. He is buried in Orange Cemetery and is commemorated on St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll.
Thomas’ brother James also served in WWI; he died of disease in 1918.
In December 1914 Thomas wrote two letters home in which he described the Australian Light Horse’s memorable reception in Cairo and the beauty of Egypt.
Leader, 28 January 1915, p. 1.