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Thomas Arthur Pendlebury was born in Preston in 1891 and he was one of nine children born to Thomas William and Annie Adeline Pendlebury (nee Bates). Thomas`s parents were married in St. Luke`s Church, Preston on 23 February, 1889.

Barbara Ann was the eldest daughter born in 1889 in Preston, Arthur was next and he was followed by James Edward in 1893 and Bertie in 1895. The family then left Preston and the 1901 Census shows them living at 30 Rydal Avenue, Blackpool where Thomas`s father was employed as a general labourer.

Thomas and Annie had their next four children in Blackpool namely; Ernest (1898), William Reginald (1901), Ethel (1903) and Richard (1906). Sometime after Richard was born the family moved back to Preston and it was here that Thomas and Annie`s youngest child Elsie was born in 1909.

The 1911 Census shows all the family living together at 185 Lancaster Road right in the centre of Preston. The Census record states that Thomas Arthur was working as a hairdresser. Sadly, Thomas`s mother passed away in the July quarter of 1912.

The same year his mother died Thomas Arthur married Margaret Alice Hesketh at All Saints Church in Preston. The couple had two children, a son Walter who was born in 1912 and then a daughter Gertrude Annie born in 1915.

Unfortunately Thomas`s service papers do not appear to have survived so there is very little additional information about his military service. However, it seems he was called up under the group system in April 1916 but there is no information to indicate when he went overseas. He was allocated the number 23790 and at some point he went to France and was posted to the 9th Battalion.

The 9th Battalion had taken part in the Battle of Messines during June 1917 and had suffered many casualties. On the 25th June they marched back to Radinghem in the Bomy area south of St. Omer for rest and training. It was here the Battalion received five drafts of reinforcements totalling 255 non-commissioned officers and men so this may have been when Thomas joined them.

The Third Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele as it was known was launched on the 31 July, 1917 and as part of the 74th Brigade the 9th Battalion were allotted the task of capturing the Westhoek Ridge on the 10th August, 1917.

Sadly, this is where Thomas lost his life after being hit by a sniper. In a letter to his parents sent from his Company Sergeant Major it seems Thomas was hit “whilst he was attempting to do a kindness to one of the enemy”.

The following article appeared in the Preston Guardian not long after Thomas`s death was confirmed and his family back home in Preston had been notified.


Like many others Thomas`s body was never recovered and so his name was inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres.

Thomas was awarded the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his sacrifice to his country.

pendlebury2Additional family information 

228983 Rifleman Ernest Pendlebury one of Thomas`s younger brothers also enlisted. Prior to his enlistment on 23 April, 1915 he was employed at Horrockses, Crewdson & Co. in Preston as a cotton operative. Ernest initially enlisted with the Cheshire Regiment (26071) on 23 April, 1915 stating his age as 19 years and 7 months; he was actually only 17 years old. He went to France on 21 July, 1915.

At some point he transferred to the 2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment. He died of wounds on 4 October, 1918 aged 20 years. Ernest was buried at Tincourt New British Cemetery, Somme, France. He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

Rank: Private
Service No: 23790
Date of Death: 10/08/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.

Janet Davis
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4 Responses to 23790 PTE. T. A. PENDLEBURY. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Michael Powell says:

    Thank you for posting this information about my mother’s brothers (the Pendleburys) I also note that my great grandmother Annie Adeline Pendlebury died in July 1912, I didn’t know that and wondered where you obtained the information, I’d like to know where she is buried. My mum was Ethel and she passed away in 1975. Thank you again I am sending your resaerch to my grandchildren who know quite a lot about WW1 through school.

    Best wishes,


  2. Rupert Powell says:

    I am Ernie & Tom’s great nephew (Ethel’s Grandson). This research is fantastic and I am very grateful to those involved in providing this document. I shall visit Ypres when next in France. I remember my Gran telling me that one of them was wounded and came home to recover but on his return to France was killed shortly after. Not sure if this was Tom or Ernie but she did talk about a sniper, so this may have been Tom? Maybe my Dad or his brother could throw some light on this story?

  3. Minnie says:

    I have a death plaque with the name Thomas Arthur Pendlebury is this the same family I live near Preston

    • Hi Minnie, yes. As Thomas Arthur Pendlebury is a unique name in terms of WW1 casualties the plaque you have was definitely given to the next of kin of this man. Regards, Paul

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