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The following research was completed and submitted for inclusion by Michael Ainsworth.

Tom Hamilton was the third son of George Hamilton and Susannah Hamilton, later Ainsworth, nee Burton. Tom was born in Radcliffe, Lancashire, on February 16th 1894.

George Hamilton died in 1897 and Susannah remarried in 1899 to widower Edward Ainsworth. Susannah died in June 1917.

At the time of the 1911 Census Tom Hamilton was living at 46 Wellington Street Radcliffe with his mother and four of his siblings. His occupation was given as Crofter at the Cotton Bleachworks.

Tom volunteered to be a part of Kitchener’s Army as one of the first wave of volunteers in September 1914 and as the press cutting (below) mentions he was one of three brothers and a step brother in the Army in 1915. Elder brother John (incorrectly called “George” in the press article) went on from Egypt to Gallipoli where he was killed at the Third Battle of Krithia.HAMILTON 1

A fifth brother, Herbert Ainsworth (my grandfather) also volunteered in 1915 but as he was only 15 years old at the time his mother managed to get him discharged and sent home before he was sent to a likely quick end in Flanders or Gallipoli.

Unfortunately Tom’s army record doesn’t appear to have survived so I’ve had to find out the details that I know from other records.

Tom’s WW1 medal card shows that he landed in France on 24th September 1915 with the 8th Bttn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. As such he was presumably part of the transport and machine gun section of the 8th Bttn as the other sections didn’t arrive in France until 26th (from 8th Bttn War diaries).

Having landed in France the 8th Bttn saw action in Belgium close to Ypres before transferring further south to France in readiness for the Somme offensive in July 1916.

It was during the Somme offensive on 11th July 1916 that Tom was wounded from a shot in the head after the 8th Bttn had joined the front line some days previously.

The absence of army records for Tom means that we cannot be sure how serious his head wound was or whether he rejoined the Battalion during 1916 or 1917. However we do know that Tom was in England on Wednesday 13th January 1918 when he married Annie Greenhalgh at Trinity Baptist Church, Radcliffe. Annie was a 30 year old spinster and a cotton warper and Tom was a 24 year old bachelor and his rank / profession was given as Pte 16850 8th L N Lancs and a finisher at the Bleach works. His brother James Hamilton and Sarah Ellen Davenport were witnesses.

In February 1918 the 8th Battalion was disbanded and it seems that Tom was transferred to the 1st Battn of the Lincolnshire Regiment.

Tom was with the Lincolnshires in April 1918 back where his War started close to Ypres in Belgium. And when the by then desperate German Army launched its final Spring offensive Tom was taken prisoner on 11th April 1918 during the initial highly successful surge by the Germans at the Battle of The Lys.

The Regimental war diary of the 1st Wiltshires has this entry for 11th April 1918: “Trenches. Hostile artillery bombarded the Battn’s position during the whole day. Owing to the enemy capturing the CATACOMBS & PLOEGSTEERT WOOD the Battn was forced to withdraw to vicinity of RAVELSBERG.”


The German register of prisoners of war register confirms Tom was taken prisoner on 11th April 1918 and he was a private with the 8th LNL attached to the 1st Wiltshire Regiment. He was apparently not wounded (“unverwundet”) when taken prisoner at “Ploegstr”.

There are no records as to where Tom was held captive but sadly he was not to return at the end of the war as he died in captivity on 11th October 1918. A note in his PoW record states that he died 11th October 1918 in Res. Field Hospital Avesnes, France. Cause of death –“inflammation of the lungs” (which I assume to be pneumonia.)

In the CWGC register Tom is listed as Private, 8th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Register and his date of death is given as 11th October 1918. He is buried in France at the Avesnes-sur-Helpe Comunal Cemetary, German Extension along with four other British Soldiers.

A note in the CWGC register states that Tom was one of five soldiers for whom there is a special memorial as they died in 1918 whilst prisoners of War and were buried in the German Extension of the cemetery but whose graves are now lost. Tom’s next of kin was Annie Hamilton of 44 Bridgefield Street Radcliffe and Annie requested “He died for his country” to be inscribed on his memorial stone.


Michael Ainsworth
26th October 2015

Paul McCormick
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