Alfred Marshall Graeme Thom volunteered for military service at the age of 14, enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders and took part in the Boer War, receiving the DCM. He continued to serve in the First World War, having joined the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in its early days, was promoted to Major and received numerous military honours and decorations, including the Order of the Legion of Honour, the Order of St. Anne of Russia and the Order of Leopold of Belgium. His military career was terminated in 1918 by the effects of a severe head wound suffered in an aircraft crash. He became a tobacco farmer in Australia and developed an interest in astronomy. In 1938 he came to England to study Optometry and was lost in the sinking of Melbourne Star together with his wife Agnes W.M. Thom while returning to Sydney, New South Wales in 1943.