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The following article was written and submitted for inclusion by Geoff Wycherley.

Thomas Havard was born 14th January 1888 at 2 Wood Street, Garston, Liverpool. His parents were retired Able Seaman Thomas Havard and his wife Ann Lee Havard. Thomas was the youngest born of six children and the only son of the marriage.

In 1891 Thomas Havard (father) died from pneumonia, leaving his wife Ann to raise the family, some of the family had already left home and were in domestic service, so unless those who were working were able to contribute to the family budget she must have found it hard to exist.

For seven years Ann managed to look after the family by working, however in 1898 matters took a turn for the worse, being riddled with rheumatic gout she approached The Liverpool Sheltering Home, run by Mrs Birt to take Thomas in as she could no longer work and look after him. This they agreed to do.

The aim of the home was to prepare children who had become destitute, abandoned, or neglected, with the aim of preparing them for emigration (for more information Click Here).

So it was that Thomas was sent to the home and was prepared for emigration, for on 30th March 1899 aged just eleven years he was put on aboard the SS Carthaginian along with 30 other children with an age range of 4 to 13 years old to start their new life in Canada.

The ship arrived in Halifax on the 12th April, there they disembarked and were put onto a train to take them to Knowlton, Quebec, a journey of over 700 miles, this was on top of the 2700 miles they had just travelled by ship. Their arrival at Knowlton must have been exhausting to say the least.

Knowlton Receiving homes purpose was to receive children from the UK and find them suitable families that the children could be sent to either live or work for. The girls were mainly sent into service and the boys to farms where labour was most wanted. Not all these placements were successful some of the children were overworked and abused.

It appears that Thomas fell lucky as on the Canadian 1901 census aged 13 and the 1911 census aged 23 he was working for a Mr Martin, a farmer of Shefford District, Quebec.

On 26th February 1913 Thomas had met and married Emily Fothergill, herself a child who had been sent to Canada via the Liverpool Sheltering home. That same year their first born child Thomas Donald was born.

August 4th 1914, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith declared war on Germany and set in motion a conflict that had never been seen before. This announcement reverberated around all what was then the Commonwealth Countries. This started in motion an surge by expatriates to enlist in the British army with many taking the first available ship that was returning to the United Kingdom. Thomas Havard was such that type of person. From the announcement of war he had made arrangements to take a ship back to Britain and enlist in the British Army.

On 2nd September 1914 Thomas Havard enlisted with the 7th Battalion North Lancashire Regiment (formed at Preston as part of K2 (56th Brigade in 19th (Western) Division. The Battalion moved from Preston to Whitchurch in December 1914 set up as their winter quarters.

At some point between December and March Thomas’s wife Emily and young son came over from Canada to visit him for in December of 1915 a second son was born.

March 1915 saw the Battalion move to Tidworth making ready for embarkation. The division was inspected by King George V on June 23rd from that point advance parties left for France, the first advance being sent of 11th July. The main body crossed the English Channel between 16-21st July. Units were initially moved to an assembly point near St Omer.

The Division served on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, taking part in many of the significant actions.

The Action of Pietre, a supporting/diversionary action during the Battle of Loos.

The Battle of Albert
The Battle of Pozieres Ridge
The Battle of Ancre Heights
The Battle of Ancre

At this last battle Thomas might have succumbed to a gas attack, an entry shows on the ‘Roll of Individuals entitled to the War Badge’ he was being discharged through illness. Within a few weeks of his arrival after discharge back home in Canada he was visited by a relative who described in a letter after visiting him that he was suffering from pneumonia.

Thomas was medically discharged from service on 10th February 1917 and retuned home to Canada were he was to live until his death in 1967, aged 79. Nothing is known of what life he lead after his discharge, did he go back to farming or take another occupation.

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