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Thomas Gaskell of Hindley, Wigan was 29yrs 6mths old when he enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in Bolton on 6th August 1914.

Thomas had been working as a collier for the ‘Wigan Coal and Iron Company’. He was married to Alice, and living at 47 Ellesmere Street, Hindley. They had one child.

Thomas was posted into the 5th (Territorial) Battalion and given the service number 2247. He had no previous military experience.

At his enlistment medical, Thomas was described as being 5ft 8in tall with a 39in chest. He was declared fit for service.

Obviously quick to impress, in January 1915 he was appointed Acting Lance Corporal.

Thomas Gaskell sailed for France with the 1/5th Battalion, on 12th February 1915.

On 3rd May 1915, Thomas was appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid), and in October 1915 he was promoted to Corporal.

In May 1916, Thomas attended training in the use of trench mortars.

Battle of the Somme, 9th August 1916.

By this time, the Battalion had been involved in the fighting on the Somme for a month.

The objective of the Brigade on this day was two fold; to attack the German front line, and in doing so capture the village of Guillemont. The attack was initially delayed, and once underway quickly fell apart. The Company on the right flank was suffering badly from intense machine-gun fire, holding them up and causing a great number of casualties.

Eventually the attack was halted, and the Brigade were withdrawn to their original line.

Corporal Thomas Gaskell was one of many casualties this day.

Following his death, Alice was sent her late husbands’ personal effects;

  • 1 x Identity disc
  • 8 x Photographs

Alice was awarded a widows pension of 15/6- a week, to come into effect from 26th February 1917.

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 2247
Date of Death: 09/08/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Pier and Face 11 A.

Paul McCormick
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