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Thomas Wareing was born on the 1st March 1885 in Preston the eldest child of Thomas and Catherine Wareing (nee Worthington). Thomas` parents married on the 27th January 1884 in the Church of St. Mark in Preston. Thomas had three sisters although one died in infancy; Elizabeth Ellen (1884-1884), Elizabeth Ellen (1886) and Ann (1888). Sadly, Thomas` father passed away in 1888, the year his youngest daughter was born.

In 1891 Thomas together with his mother Catherine and two sisters had moved in with his paternal grandfather Thomas Wareing living at 12 Croft Street. Thomas` grandfather was a grocer and his mother Catherine was earning a living as an assistant in his grocery business. By 1901 Catherine Wareing, Thomas and his two sisters had moved next door to live in their own home in Croft Street. Catherine Wareing was now working as a cotton carder in one of the local mills, Thomas was labouring at the electric car works on Strand Road and Elizabeth Ellen and Ann were both cotton weavers.

On the 4th October 1906 Thomas married Agnes Hodson in St. Mark`s Church in Preston. A year after they married Agnes gave birth to the couples` only child, a daughter and they named her Doris. In 1911 Thomas, Agnes and four year old Doris lived at 26 Kingswood Street not far from Thomas`s workplace on the Docks. He had left his labouring job at the electric car works and was now employed as a labourer by Messrs. T.W. Ward, Shipbreakers.

On the 23rd October 1912 he enlisted for four years into the Territorial Force at Preston. His home address at the time was 6 Gildow Street and he was still working for Messrs. T.W. Ward. His medical inspection revealed that he was 5`6” tall with good physical development and he was passed fit to serve and issued with the service number 1720.  On the 3rd May 1914 he was appointed Lance Corporal and then on 13th June 1914 further promoted to Corporal and by the end of June 1914 he had reached the rank of Sergeant.

Thomas signed his agreement to serve abroad in the event of a National Emergency at the Public Hall in Preston on the 7th August 1914. He embarked for France with the main body of the Battalion on the 4th May 1915. A week after landing the 1/4th Battalion became part of the 154th Brigade of the 51st (Highland) Division. The Battalion`s first experience of the war came on the 25th May 1915 when they went into the trenches after relieving the 7th Black Watch of the 153rd Brigade and taking over a sector about one mile west-north-west of Festubert. After spending a week in the trenches they were relieved on the 1st June and had also suffered their first casualties, one man was killed and several others wounded.

The Battalion`s first major action came on the 15th June 1915 when they were engaged in what was described as the “great bayonet charge”, again around Festubert. Unfortunately Thomas was wounded quite badly by shrapnel to his head, legs and arms, after initially being treated in France he was invalided back home via the Hospital Ship Oxfordshire on the 25th June 1915. After quite a long period of recovery and convalescence he returned to duty with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion in preparation for his return to the front.

Thomas went back to France in February 1916, landing in Rouen on the 11th and after spending a couple of weeks at the base depot he re-joined the 1/4th Battalion on the 2nd March 1916. By the time Thomas arrived the Battalion had been transferred into the 164th Brigade of 55th (West Lancashire) Division and they were occupying a sector south of Arras, from Wailly to Bretencourt.  In late July 1916 the 55th (Western) Division was detailed to take part in the ongoing Somme battle.

On the night of the 30th July they took their place in the line opposite the village of Guillemont, the plan being to capture the village (which had thus far proved to be a major sticking point) enabling further advance. On the night of the 8th August 1916 they assembled in trenches near Trones Wood in preparation for the attack. The attack was largely unsuccessful incurring a large number of casualties. After this failed attack the Division was relieved on the 14th – 15th August and they moved back to the west of Abbeville to rest and refit.

Two strong drafts from the Manchester and East Lancashire Regiments, totalling 219 non-commissioned Officers and men arrived and the Battalion spent the rest period in Saigneville and later at Millencourt. On the 7th September the Brigade was recalled to the front and the Battalion marched from Fricourt to Montauban; here the sector of the front line taken over extended from the eastern edge of Delville Wood in the direction of Ginchy, the Battalion and the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers occupying the trenches . “B” and “C” Companies were in front with “A” in support.

On the 8th September Thomas was promoted to Company Sergeant Major and posted to “B” Company. Orders were then received for an attack to take place on the afternoon of the 9th September.

Battalion History

At 16:45hrs on the 9th September 1916 the 1/4th Battalion was part of an attack launched by the XIV Corps. 164th Brigade (including B and C Companies of 1/4th LNL) were to attack and take a line of trenches that ran between Ginchy and Delville Wood. The plan was to `go over the top` and take Hope Alley and then Ale Alley. Hop Alley was taken but Ale Alley wasn`t reached due to the intensity of the enemy machine-gun fire. The attackers fell back to their original line.

The casualties were heavy, 24 men killed including Second Lieutenants W.E. Pyke and E.F. Falby. There were also 125 men wounded and a further 79 men missing, many were later identified as having been killed.

Sadly, newly promoted CSM Thomas Wareing was one of the men killed during the course of the attack on the 9th September 1916.

After Agnes had been informed of her husband`s death the following notice was later published in the Preston Guardian;

1720 Company Sergeant Major Thomas Wareing

Agnes was later awarded a pension of 17/- per week for herself and daughter Doris with effect from 26th March 1917. There is nothing recorded in Thomas` service papers with regard to any personal effects so whether Agnes received any is unknown.

Thomas was later buried in Delville Wood Cemetery on the Somme.

Photo taken July 2016

Photo taken July 2016

After the war Agnes took receipt of her husband`s 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals to which he was entitled. She would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his service and sacrifice for his country.

The name of Thomas Wareing was submitted to appear on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in his hometown of Preston. The submission form is shown below, and below that is the panel bearing his name.

RoH submission form

RoH submission form

1720 Company Sergeant Major Thomas Wareing 1

Harris Museum and Library Roll of Honour

Rank: Company Serjeant Major
Service No: 1720
Date of Death: 09/09/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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