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WW1 Casualty: Sapper 109871 Thomas Green -

Sapper 109871 Thomas Green

Prescot Reporter, courtesy of Ste M

Unit/Regiment IWTRE, Corps of Royal Engineers
Date of Death 17/12/1915 Age at Death 33
& Reference
Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery
III A 26
Census Details 1901 Census –
The Green family lived at 32, High Street, Prescot, where Samuel (56) was a Shoemaker. His wife was Ann, aged 54, and their children also living there were George (29) and John (27), both Coal Miners, Thomas (19), a General Labourer, Elizabeth (25) and Annie (14).
SDGW – Where Born Liverpool
Enlisted Liverpool
Resided Prescot
How Died Died Theatre of War France & Flanders
Research Ref. No. P130

Service Details

Thomas Green attested into the Royal Engineers on 17th August 1915 in Liverpool, joining the Inland Waterway Transport Section. He recorded that he was Single, aged 33, and working as a Fireman. He stood 5 foot 8 inches in height with a 38 inch chest measurement, expandable by 2 inches. He had a snake and tree tattoo on his left forearm.

Thomas recorded his address as Lane Ends, Prescot and also that his next of kin was his sister Elizabeth at the same address. His attestation papers asked if the person had any previous military experiences, and to this Thomas answered 'No'. This contradicts the Prescot Reporter article his death (see later), which mentions that he saw service in the Boer War.

Fellow researcher and Prescotian John Yates resolved this anomaly for me when he discovered details of Thomas's service which stated that he had joined the Dragoon Guards at Warrington on 31st March 1898. However, six months later he was charged with, and found guilty of, desertion for which he was sentenced to 42 days Penal Hard Labour before being returned to his unit. However, he was then discharged in 1899 after being found guilty of theft at Colchester. Given this background, it is perhaps not surprising that he did not declare his previous service when he attested to the RE in 1915

Having joined the Royal Engineers as Sapper 109871, he quickly embarked for France, arriving there on 27th September 1915, just six weeks after attestation, and joined his unit on 2nd October. He was charged on 11th October with being absent without leave from 10.50 a.m. to 11.25 a.m. and also with drunkenness and was sentenced to forfeit 14 days pay.

On 17th December 1915, No 10 Stationary Hospital at St Omer sent a telegraph to the War Office in London stating that Sapper Green was lying dangerously ill from wounds to the left leg and head, caused accidentally, and requested that they inform his relatives. The War Office sent a telegram to his sister, Elizabeth, on 18th December to advise her of this, but unfortunately, Thomas had succumbed to his wounds on the 17th. A second telegram was sent on 18th to advise Elizabeth of this. She may well have received both at the same time.

The telegram sent to Elizabeth Green on 18th December

His records confirm that he died on 17th December 1915 at No 10 Stationary Hospital, St. Omer, of wounds to the head and left leg.

He was buried in French Souvenir Cemetery, St Omer. The town was the General Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force from October 1914 to March 1916. The town was a considerable hospital centre with the 4th, 10th, 7th Canadian, 9th Canadian and New Zealand Stationary Hospitals, the 7th, 58th (Scottish) and 59th (Northern) General Hospitals, and the 17th, 18th and 1st and 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Stations all stationed there at some time during the war.

Prescot Reporter (3rd March, 1916)

'Sapper Thos. Green, Inland Water Transport, who lived at 6, Stone Houses, Eccleston Lane Ends, died of wounds received in France. Sapper Green, who was 32 years of age, served in the Boer War.'

On 3rd April 1916, the War Office wrote to the Royal Engineers Record Office at Chatham in Kent asking that any personal possessions of Sapper Green held by them should be returned to his sister Elizabeth, in Prescot, and that any medals to be issued to Sapper Green should be sent to Mr. James Green, or Church Road, Cheriton, Kent.

Thomas's personal effects were returned to his sister in April 1916 by the Records Office at Chatham in Kent. His possessions were listed as 'photos, letters, belt, pouch, 2 pipes, Gold ring with 2 stones, razor, knife and hair brush'. Elizabeth acknowledged receipt of these on 10th April.

In June 1919, the Army Records Office wrote to Thomas's sister, Elizabeth, asking her to provide details of all his living relatives so that the correct disposal of his Memorial Plaque and Scroll could be determined. Elizabeth replied stating that both of Thomas's parents were dead and that Thomas had no children. His brothers were listed as James, aged 50, of the Anchor Inn, Stouting near Hythe in Kent, George, 49 of Victoria Place, Prescot and John, 42 of Bretherton Road, Prescot.

In addition to his sister Elizabeth, Thomas had two married sisters; Mary Ellen Preston, aged 45 of Bretherton Road, Prescot, and Anne Appleton, aged 32 and living in Thatto Heath

The Register of Soldiers Effects lists Thomas's brothers and sisters as next of kin

On 21st July 1921, James acknowledged receipt of Thomas's 1914-1915 Star. No record survives to show who received his British War Medal and Victory Medal, or when they were issued.

Thomas Green's Medal Index Card, showing his arrival in France on 27th September 1915. This qualified him for the 1914-1915 Star in addition to his standard entitlement to the British War Medal and Victory Medal

It is poignant to see this list of Thomas's comrades with numbers close to his, who were entitled to the 1915 Star, as only two of them survived the war

Thomas Green's grave at Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery

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