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Thomas Livesey was born in Preston and was the youngest of at least four surviving sons born to James and Hannah Livesey (nee Slater). James and Hannah married in Preston in 1867 and their first child was James Henry (1867) followed by William (1869), John (1871) and then Thomas (1879)*. Sadly, Thomas` mother Hannah passed away in 1881 and ten years later in 1891 Thomas was with his father and two brothers, William and John living at 29 Byron Street, all four working in one of the local cotton mills. A year later Thomas` father also died at the age of 44 years.

By 1901 Thomas had moved to 52 Chester Road in Preston and was `boarding` with Margaret Watson, a widow aged 72 years and her daughter Frances Ann Watson, 42. Thomas was still working in one of the mills as a cotton weaver. Over the next ten years nothing much changed for Thomas, apart from his address, in 1911 he was living at 249 Fletcher Road and was still `boarding with the Watson family and still employed as a cotton weaver.

At the age of 36 years and 10 months Thomas attested at Preston on the 6th December 1915, joining the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was issued with his initial service number of 8159 which in January 1917 would become 243566. His medical inspection revealed that he was five feet four and quarter inches tall and he weighed 115lbs. He was a single man and had no previous military experience and he confirmed his occupation as a weaver. For official purposes Thomas named his brother William of 10 Weston Street, Preston as his legal next of kin. After passing his medical inspection he was posted to the Army Reserve.

Three months later on the 30th March 1916 Thomas was mobilised and the following day he was posted to the 4/5th Battalion LNL, later joining “B” Company. After almost twelve months of training Thomas sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne with the 4/5th Battalion on the 13th February 1917, the Battalion coming under the Command of the 170th Brigade of 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. Almost immediately after arriving in France the Battalion was sent into the trenches and later in October 1917 they were involved in the Battle of Passchendaele where they suffered 289 casualties, killed, wounded or missing.

On the 4th February 1918 the 4/5th Battalion as a unit ceased to exist, amalgamating with the 1/5th Battalion who a month earlier had been transferred into the 166th Brigade of 55th (West Lancashire) Division. On the 14th February 1918 the 1/5th Battalion was at Cottes in the St. Hilaire area and in reserve of the XV Corps. On the 1st March 1918 they moved to Pont de Nieppe in order to do some training and by the 20th March they had gone into the trenches in the Fleurbaix area, said to be a quieter part of the front compared to where they had served previously.

According to the war history the Battalion spent the months of April and May in the Couin and Coigneux areas alternating between billets and the trenches around Gommecourt. Sadly, it was here on the 26th May 1918 that Thomas was killed in action.

Thomas` brother William Livesey later took receipt of some of his brothers personal possessions, including; ID Disc, letters, a pipe, wallet, matchbox cover, split ring, 1 razor (broken), a tobacco pouch and a dust guard for eyes. After the war Thomas was awarded the British War and Victory Medals which his brother also signed for.

Private Thomas Livesey was originally buried out on the battlefield but his body was later found, exhumed and then identified by means of a cross marking his original grave. He was then laid to rest in Gommecourt British Cemetery No. 2 Hebuterne.

Photo taken July 2016

Photo taken July 2016

Rank: Private
Service No: 243566
Date of Death: 26/05/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment , 1st/5th Bn.

Janet Davis
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