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Thomas Cross was one of eight children born to Thomas and Ann Cross in Preston in early 1887. The 1891 census shows that they were living in Friday street Preston. Thomas (Snr) was employed as a “Buggy Driver” and Ann a “char woman.” Also living with them were two brothers, Henry, aged 17 and George aged 12.

Ten years later the 1901 census shows that they were living at 36 Allen street, Preston and Thomas was employed as an apprentice plumber aged 14 years.

On the 26 October 1904 at age 17 Thomas enrolled in the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and had the service number 6786. In his early service record his address is still shown as 36 Allen street Preston. On his attestation form he is shown was working for Brierley Plumbers.

4 years later, on the 13th of April 1908 Thomas transferred to the 4th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in Preston; he was given the service number of 1746. According to his service record he served until about April 1913 A couple of months later sees Thomas re-joining the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. On 27th June 1913 he signed on for 4 years. In 1917 he was given the new style Territorial number 200384.

Thomas married Emely Howarth in late 1913 and they had one child, a daughter, Margaret Ann who was born in 1916. their address was 43 Nelson street, Preston.

On the 4th May 1915 Thomas embarks for France from Southampton with the advance party and battalion transport on the SS Rossette bound for Le Havre. The main party travelled via Folkestone the following day.

Thomas was admitted to hospital more than once during his service with the regiment. On 15th May 1916 he was admitted to a field hospital for scabies; he re-joined his battalion 10 days later on 25th May 1916. But then in August 1916 he was admitted to hospital in Rouen with shell shock. At this time the battalion was engaged in the Somme offensive.

In April 1918 Thomas was promoted to Lance Corporal but two months later he reverts back to being a private after being charged with leaving his guard without permission. On his conduct sheet it shows that he was absent for 5 hours and 5 minutes.

Thomas was transferred to the Labour Corps in June 1917 with 562 Employment Coy Heaton Park Manchester but in April 1918 he was posted back to the 4th Bn, Loyal North Lancs.

Soon after this, in September 1918, he returned to France and Flanders and after the Armistice the ¼th battalion was quartered in Uccle which is just south of Brussels

On the night 25th of April Thomas was waiting for a tram at a stop in the Avenue Brugmann in Uccle. As the tram was approaching he was run into by a “motor car” which almost overturned but refused to stop and then sped off in the direction of avenue Longchamp. Thomas who was unconscious was taken to the Belgium Military Hospital in the Rue Darwin but on the 26 of April 1919 he died of his injuries.


Summary of evidence by Sgt E Fairclough who was riding on the tram

Thomas was awarded the Victory metal, the British War Medal and the 1914-1915 Star. The medals were sent to his wife Emely after the war.

Thomas would have been originally buried locally, most probably in Uccle Communal Cemetery, and in or about 1946 his body was moved and re-buried in Plot 10 in Heverlee War Cemetery.


Rank: Private
Service No: 200384
Date of Death: 26/04/1919
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

This soldier was researched by Phil Child. Thank you, Phil, for allowing us to share Thomas’ story

Paul McCormick
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