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woods2Thomas was born in Kirkham on 1st June 1884 the son of Thomas Butler and Elizabeth Woods (nee Muncaster). Thomas`s parents were married in St. Michael`s Church, Kirkham on 30th April 1870 and as well as Thomas they had another ten children. The others being, John William (1870), Rachel Jane (1872), Sarah Alice (1875), Mary Ellen (1877), twins Agnes and Margaret (1879-1879), Elizabeth (1880), Kate Ann (1882), Sam (1886-1887) and Agnes (1888).

Thomas married Hannah Fisher at St. Michael`s Church, Kirkham on 1st November 1906. At the time he was working at the Wesham Mill Co. Ltd as a cotton spinner and Hannah was a weaver. The following year they had a son and named him Thomas Butler Woods.

In 1911 Thomas and Hannah and their young son were living at 11 Freckleton Street, Kirkham. Thomas`s sister Agnes was also living with them. Thomas and Hannah were both still employed in the mill in nearby Wesham.

At the end of August 1914 a big recruiting rally took place in the Market Square in Kirkham. Men from Kirkham, Wesham and the surrounding villages answered the call and on the 1st September approximately 120 men including Thomas Woods marched the 8 miles to Preston to enlist. Family and friends were there to watch them go, children from the local school were allowed time off to line the Market Square to wave them on their way.

Thomas was passed fit at his medical and it was recorded that he was 5`10” tall and weighed 130lbs. He had brown hair and hazel eyes and it was noted that he had a tattoo on his left forearm with his initials “T W”. He was posted to the 7th Battalion “B” Company and allocated the number 12796.

Thomas embarked at Folkestone on the 17th July 1915 with the 7th Battalion and sailed for Boulogne.

On the 22nd May 1916 he was admitted to a Field Ambulance with trench fever or pneumonia, the Medics seemingly undecided. Having been sent back down the line to hospital in Rouen he was then sent back home and on to the Smithston War Hospital in Greenock. The Doctors in Greenock reported that he was suffering from pains in the back and chest, shortness of breath on exertion and was therefore unable to march. In their opinion his condition had been caused by exposure and strain due to active service. Thomas spent seven weeks in hospital recovering.

After he left hospital Thomas was transferred to the 23rd Works Battalion and from there to the Labour Corps for a short period of time. Eventually he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion Loyal North Lancs where he would have received additional training in preparation for going back out to the front.

On the 7th September 1917 Thomas embarked at Folkestone with a draft of reinforcements bound for France again. On the 16th September 1917 he was posted to the 1/5th Battalion.

Thomas was posted as wounded and missing at Cambrai on the 30th November 1917. The following report appeared in the local paper after his family were officially notified that he was presumed killed on that date.

woods1

Cambrai, 30th November, 1917, 08:30 hrs.

On the morning of the 30th November, the 55th Divisional front line was shrouded in a heavy fog. The line had been heavily bombarded for the past ninety minutes and all roads and tracks were under heavy fire.

The enemy penetrated the 1/5th sector at Holts Bank, having advanced at a staggering rate with overwhelming numbers into Pigeon Quarry which resulted in our men being seriously outflanked.

On the morning of the 30th November, the 55th Divisional front line was shrouded in a heavy fog. The line had been heavily bombarded for the past ninety minutes and all roads and tracks were under heavy fire.

The enemy penetrated the 1/5th sector at Holts Bank, having advanced at a staggering rate with overwhelming numbers into Pigeon Quarry which resulted in our men being seriously outflanked.

Massively outnumbered and with the help of the Liverpool Scottish, the Loyals gallantly stood firm and inflicted serious damage on the German soldiers, succeeded in holding Adelphi and Gloucester Roads until such a time as they became so few in number they were forced to withdraw.

Prior to the withdrawal, an element of Loyal North Lancs had already been cut off from the rest of the Battalion and were completely surrounded at Limerick Post. Somehow they succeeded in defending their encircled position, managing to reach their own line by 05:00 hrs the next morning.

Hannah Woods was awarded a widow’s pension of 20s/5d for herself and her son.

 

woods3

Kirkham War Memorial

 

Private Thomas Woods is remembered on the Kirkham War Memorial and the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France..

Rank: Private
Service No: 12796
Date of Death: 30/11/1917
Age: 24
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.
Memorial: CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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One Response to 12796 PTE. T. WOODS. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Anonymous says:

    My great uncle.

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