Whiteman, Thomas. Died 3rd Sep 1916

Thomas was born in Bracknell, Berkshire, in 1889, son of Thomas and his wife Emma nee Martin, who were married in Reading in 1887.   He had three sisters and three brothers, Emma b 1888 in Reading, Louise Emily b 1889 in Bracknell, Dorothy b 1894 in Maidenhead, George Amos b1897 in Cholsbury, Bucks, Henry Martin b 1900 in Berkhamstead Herts and Stanley Charles b in Rugby in 1893.

Thomas senior was a domestic gardener, but travelled from place to place over the years, perhaps gaining experience and seniority en route.   He came to Rugby between 1900 and 1903, and in 1901 was living in Main Street, Long Lawford with his family, all except Thomas junior who was staying at West Hatch, Somerset, listed as nephew of George Amos and Louisa Beatrice (nee Martin) Puddy. George was the Head Master at the National School, his wife was his Assistant and the sister of Thomas’s mother Emma. By 1911 the family was living at 16 Winfield Street in Rugby, Thomas Snr still a gardener as was his son Thomas, George and Louise were working in an electrical works.

Thomas enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (private, no. 15720) in November 1915. It was announced in the Rugby Advertiser of 27th November that:

Recruiting has not been quite so good at Rugby during the past week, either for immediate service or under Lord Derby’s Group Scheme. The following have enlisted for immediate service with the Colours :—

Thomas was one of seven men who joined the Royal Warwicks that week.

At his death was a Lance Corporal in the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.   He was killed in action on 3 September 1916 (Solders Died in the Great War).   The 15th Battalion was raised in Birmingham in September 1914, landed at Boulogne on 21 November 1915 as part of the 32nd Division, and became part of the 13th Brigade 5th Division in January 1916.   It was resting at the start of the Battle of the Somme, but the Division soon became involved in the attacks on High Wood, which had begun on 14 July and went on until mid-September. The first British units entered the wood late on 14 July 1916, but the Germans had recovered from the British breakthrough at Bazentin earlier that day and were now manning the trench system which ran through the back of the wood. Both sides fought tenaciously to possess the wood which became an epicentre of the bloody attack and counter-attack fighting that characterised much of the Somme offensive after 14 July (wikipedia).

By 3 September 1916, the 5th Division was involved in the Battle of Guillemont, a village to the south of Delville Wood, and during the fierce fighting there were thousands of casualties on both sides. It is probable that Thomas was killed during the first day of this action aged 27.

In the December quarter of 1915, Thomas had married Annie Jones in Clun registration district, Shropshire, just before he left for the front. She received his outstanding pay of £1.14s.9d, and a £3 war gratuity. Thomas was awarded the British War and Victory medals. He is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s