The memory of a WWI soldier from Australia lives on in a new portrait which was unveiled in Sunderland this week.
Thomas Thornton Powell left his job as a dairy farmer to travel half-way around the globe to fight for King and Country, only to be wounded in the Somme. In 2016 Hendon History Group restored his grave in Grangetown cemetery. Now, a portrait of the soldier has been unveiled in Carnegie Community Corner, formerly Hendon Library.
An artist from Cornwall, Amanda J Stafford, who has family locally, agreed to paint a portrait of T.T. Powell and his mother, using the last photograph he had taken before going to France in WW1.
Such were the extent of Thornton’s injuries, he had to be transferred via hospital ship to England. At 3am on August 14, 1916, Thornton arrived at Sunderland Railway Station with 100 other wounded.
Thornton was admitted to Hammerton House, known as Grey Road Red Cross Hospital, on August 16 and succumbed to his injuries on November 21. He was given a full military funeral, with his coffin borne on a gun carriage from the Royal Infirmary - there being no mortuary at Hammerton House - and scores of wounded soldiers left their hospital beds to join the procession and honour his bravery.
As well as being installed in Hendon following an Armistice service, a copy of Thornton’s portrait has been sent to Queensland, Australia, so that T.T. Powell is also remembered in his home region of Gympie.
Salvation Army representatives from Cairo Street took the service, led by Envoy Gwendoline while a Salvation Army bugler who played the Last Post at the service prior to a two minute’s silence.
Learn more about T.T. Powell here.