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Thomas Power was born in Gorton, Manchester in 1894. In 1901, at the age of 7, his family were living at 17 Wesley Street in Gorton. His father John, was Irishman and worked as a machine driller. His mother Ann, was from Bottesford in Leicestershire. Thomas had an older brother named John William (born c1892), an older sister named Mary Ann (born c1890), a younger brother named Robert (born c1899), and a younger sister named Clara (born c1897). All his siblings were also born in Gorton, in Manchester.

By 1911 the family were living at 105 Napier Street, Gorton, Manchester. His father was still a machine driller. John William, the elder brother had entered the same line of work as his father, him as an iron miller. Thomas, now aged 17 was listed as working as a trolley lad.

On 03 September 1914 Thomas, now aged 20 enlisted on a three year short service engagement in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Upon enlisting, Thomas was single and still living at home. He had been working as a horizontal borer at Craven Brothers, a tooling company on Osborne street in Manchester. http://www.mosi.org.uk/media/33870518/cravenbrothers.pdf

Thomas underwent a medical examination and was noted at being 5 ft 7in and 126 lbs. He had blue eyes, red hair and was of a ruddy complexion. He had a brown mole on his right buttock. He was considered fit for service and given the number 15709. He was then posted to the 10th (Service) Battalion.

On 31 July 1915 he was sent to France, the following morning, having arrived in Boulogne Thomas completed his Last Will and Testament.

I hereby certify that my mother, Mrs A Power is entitled to all my effects and property.

The 10th (Service) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were with 112th Brigade, 37th Division. However, during the Somme they fought under the 34th Division; Thomas only took part in the following major battles, all phases of the Battle of the Somme.

  • The Battle of Albert (including the capture of Scots and Sausage Redoubts)
  • The Battle of Bazentin Ridge
  • The Battle of Pozieres Ridge
In March 1917 just before the rest of the Battalion was sent to Arras, Thomas was sent back to the UK.  Thomas received the following letter informing him of this decision;

…You have been ordered to proceed to England by train leaving Etaples main station at 03:43 am, 13 March 1917. You will report to the RTO there at 03:15 am. On arrival in England you will report to the Officer Commanding Depot L.N.Lancs at Preston. You are proceeding to England in accordance with the instructions received for Munition work…

It was decided he would assist the war effort for the duration of the war by returning to his former employment at Craven Brothers.

The director of Craven Brothers, Mr Reed, received a memo from the Officer in charge of records during the first week of Thomas arriving back with the company, this asked for Thomas’ current residence.

Mr Reed replied;

…. the address of Pte Thomas Power is 105 Napier Street, Gorton, Manchester. Please note he re-c0mmenced as an iron borer on machine tools for the reproduction of munitions on 19 March 1917 (Night work)…

Thomas was finally discharged from the Army on 14 December 1918. In total he had served 3 years, 103 days (1 year, 224 days of which were in France). It was noted that he was surplus to Military requirements having suffered impairment since entering the Service. At this time he was now living at 1512 Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, Manchester.

In April 1919 Thomas attempted to claim a pension for asthma. His asthma was considered by the Ministry of Pensions to be non-attributable to his service, and his claim was rejected.

Thomas was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory medal for his service.

Paul McCormick
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