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Thomas Henry Maxfield was born in Birmingham on 2nd October 1884. His parents were John and Elizabeth (nee Simpson).
At the time of the 1891 census, Thomas was 6 years old and living with his family at 28 Barker Street, Birmingham. His parents were originally from Sheffield, his father was now employed as an electro-plate worker in Birmingham.
Thomas was their forth child; he had two brothers; Walter (1874 – 1934) and John (b. 1877); and three sisters, Alice (b. 1882), Catherine (b. 1890) and Lizzie (1892 – 1968). Another sibling named Thomas had died in infancy in 1876.
By the time of the 1911 census Thomas, Catherine (Kate) and Lizzie (Elizabeth) were boarding with their sister Alice and her husband Joseph Porter at 117 Hingeston Street, Birmingham. Thomas was working as a cycle maker.
On 31st August 1914, Thomas enlisted in the Territorial Force. He joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Birmingham as a Private with the number 2426, although he was quickly transferred across to the Army Cyclist Corps probably due to his previous profession.
At his enlistment medical the doctor recorded that he was 5ft 7.5in tall and weighed 150lbs. He was 28 years old and had given his occupation as being a cycle finisher.
On 30th March 1915,Thomas sailed for France with the Cyclists. At some point later he was transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment joining their 10th (Service) Battalion with the number 33859. During his time in France he was promoted to Corporal.
On 20th September 1915 Thomas had an operation on both of his legs. This was due to varicose veins that were causing him pain. He returned to the UK for the operation and transferred to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion for administrative purposes.
By February 1916 Thomas was still convalescing and hadn’t returned to France. On 20th February 1916 he married Lilian Mary Diwell at St. Michael’s Church, Wood Green, Middlesex. They had a son, Frederick Thomas Maxfield that same year. In 1919 they had a second son, whom they named Walter and in 1921 a third son they named John (after his brothers).
It is not known exactly when in 1916/17 that Thomas returned to the front, but it wasn’t too long before he would be back in Blighty again.
On 24th April 1917 Thomas was admitted into the 3rd Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. He spent 48 nights in hospital due to sustaining a gunshot wound to his left hand which was becoming septic and painful. This resulted in him losing the tip of his little finger. He was discharged ‘fit’ on the 13th June.
In July 1917 Thomas’ name was published in the London Gazette. He had been awarded the Military Medal for Bravery in the field. This gazette covered Arras in early-April 1917 which would coincide with Thomas sustaining the wound to his hand.
The following transcription of the 10th Battalion War Diary shows their part at Arras;
Arras – 10th / 11th April 1917
During the night, orders were received that the L.N.Lancs were to continue the advance and attack at 05:00hrs going through East Lancs and attacking the trenches, having as our objective the ‘Green Line’ and in particular the wood (Tilloy).
Arras – 11th April 1917 – 05:00hrs
The Battalion having previously got into position for such advance, almost immediately came into full view of the enemy and was met with very heavy machine gun and shell fire.
Arras – 11th April 1917 – 05:30hrs
We received orders not to advance until barrage opened. By this time, we had carried by assault, the enemy trench in front (east of Sunken Road) and were establishing ourselves in shell holes 100 yards further east.
It was at this time that Captain Peskett, 2nd Lieutenant Ibbotson and 2nd Lieutenant Goodman were killed.
During this assault, we suffered very heavy casualties and were being enfiladed from Monchy Le Preux. The right flank, perceiving that they were in the air and appreciating the fact that if it remained as such, there was a likelihood of their being outflanked, boldly determined to risk all and assaulted a small trench running southwards from Cambrai Road in the direction of Guemappe and about 30 yards east of Sunken road before mentioned.
A tank apparently also appreciating the situation in a like manner, came to their aid.
On obtaining possession of the trench, Corporal Leonard and Lance Corporal R. Dinwoodie and six men were all that was left. These eight men boldly bombed along the trench southward killing more than a dozen Bosche, taking three prisoners and found themselves in complete possession. To their almost surprise, seven Bosche officers miraculously appeared apparently from nowhere. This was not a time to stand on ceremony, whereupon the officers suffered the same fate as their men. Two machine guns were captured in this gallant assault, but as the new garrison were so weak in numbers and fearing that they might eventually be in their turn evicted, they blew them up.
These men retained possession of this trench as did also Captain Gravett, ably assisted by Second Lieutenant Deacon (being the only two officers now left) and CSM Webster with sixty men, made themselves masters of the situation of the corresponding trench running northwards from the Cambrai Road. Here the garrison remained throughout the day, although there were signs of the enemy massing for a counter attack from the south.
It was about this time that Second Lieutenant Parker died after being badly wounded.
The Commanding Officer and Adjutant, having collected enroute stragglers of all Battalions to the number of about fifty, arrived on the scene. By this time, and with the assistance of the these reinforcements, Captain Gravett was the complete master of the situation. From this time onwards, reinforcements of officers and men from other Battalions kept arriving.
Arras – 11th April 1917 – 13:50hrs
The Commanding Officer sent in a report to the General informing him that the situation had improved considerably and he had made plans for bombing parties to proceed along both sides the Cambrai Road and to attack the enemy trench after nightfall, which was about 300 yards in front of our line, as it was not deemed advisable at the moment to advance further, knowing full well that we were well in advance of all troops on our right and left, besides which in our present position we had command of a good field of view.
During this period Second Lieutenant Deacon received two wounds, but would not desert his Captain or his men.
About three hours after entering the trench, some of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, acting as Infantry, came up on their left. This gave them some breathing space.
During this time men of the East Lancs and 10th L.N.Lancs oozed from shell holes and thickened the line of fire to our front line and could also enfilade the enemy on our right where the troops on that flank would advance further.
Arras – 11th April 1917 – 17:00hrs
We received orders that we would be relieved at 18:30hrs and immediately informed Captain Gravett to hold himself in readiness to be relieved. This relief was not completed until 01:00hrs. The men being in a very exhausted condition withdrew to Tilloy where we spent the remainder of the night.
Tilloy Wood – 12th April 1917 – 08:00hrs
Roll Call. Only a few of the brave fellows left. Our loses were estimated at 13 Officers and 286 men. That is over 60% of our fighting strength.
The London Gazette showing Thomas being awarded the Military Medal;
Thomas was discharged due his wounds on 1st April 1919 and was given the Silver War Badge number 470613. Thomas filed for a medical pension as the varicose veins and gunshot wound had left him with a 20% disability, and this was deemed to be attributable to his military service. Thomas attended medical appointments in Birmingham up until November 1921 when it was deemed his varicose veins had passed. His hand had healed and caused him no trouble.
Thomas Henry Maxfield’s death was registered in Birmingham in September 1924. He was 39 years old.
Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
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- 12153 PTE. H. DAGGER. L.N.LAN.R 3 Comments
- 12638 PTE. W. HANLON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 12641 PTE. R. STOPFORTH. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 12703 LCPL. W. H. SMITH. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 12736 PTE. J. ROSCOE. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 12739 PTE. J. HACKING. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 12741 PTE. E. MCPARTLIN. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 12746 CPL. T. DOWNS. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 12774 SJT. T. CROSS. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 12784 LSJT. A. DANSON. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 12874 PTE. R. WALSH. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 12883 PTE. T. H. BAINES. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 12944 PTE. W. MOSS. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 12949 PTE. H. LEAVER. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 12976 SJT. H. P. MAKIN. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 13115 PTE. C. J. STEWART. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13229 PTE. G. HESKETH. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13245 PTE. T. WHALLEY. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 13284 PTE. H. NIGHTINGALE. L.N.LAN.R 3 Comments
- 13394. SGT. W. HOLME. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13395 PTE. A. GRAY. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 13421. PTE. W. MEE. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13426 LCPL. J. PEAK. L.N.LAN.R 7 Comments
- 13458 CPL. F. SWALES. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13460 CPL. W. HALLIWELL. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 13470 SJT. W. E. BUTLER. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13530 LCPL. J. H. ADAMS. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13588 SGT. J. ROTHERHAM. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13693 PTE. W. LORD. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 13814 PTE. J. BILLINGTON. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 13831 PTE. A. HANRAHAN. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 13881 PTE. A. E. FISHER. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 13896 PTE. G. WOODCOCK. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 13911 PTE. T. H. TAYLOR. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 13985 PTE. R. SEYMOUR L. N. LAN. R. 0 Comments
- 13994 PTE. S. BRIGGS. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 14000 PTE. T. ATKINSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 14017 PTE. J. BOTTOMLEY. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 14041 CPL. G. T. WHITTLE. L.N.LAN.R. 2 Comments
- 14173 PTE. T. NELSON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 14179 PTE. J. SWARBRICK. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 14193 PTE. T. HATCH. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 14238 PTE. J. WILLIAMS. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 15111 PTE. A. FERGUSON. L.N.LAN:R 0 Comments
- 15490 PTE. L. BIRD. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 15628 PTE. A. WISEMAN. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 15666 PTE. T. HIGSON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 15709. PTE. T. POWER. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 15750 PTE. W. BAILEY. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 15793 CPL. T. A. HOGARTH. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 15821 WOII. E. O'HARA. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 16346 SJT. J. NUTTALL. L.N.LAN 2 Comments
- 16419 LCPL. G. ELLISON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 16637 SJT. F. TAYLOR. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 16739 PTE. R. PENDLEBURY. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 16757 PTE. W. BILSBOROUGH. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 16762 PTE. R. CLEGG. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 16780 PTE. A. RABY. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 16915 PTE. J. R. HAYES. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 17462 PTE. J. CLARKE. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 17534 PTE. R. HALSHAW. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 17615 PTE. J. LOWE. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 18116 CPL. T. H. HOOPER. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 18995 CPL. J. WALTON. L.N.LAN.R 4 Comments
- 19574 PTE. R. DERBYSHIRE. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 19736 PTE. J. J. BARNES. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 19781 PTE. A. RIGBY. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 19812 PTE. R. GILLETT. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 200402 PTE. T. MCCUE. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 201732 PTE. H. WILSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 20202 PTE. C. PICKLES. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 203470 PTE. E. DALEY. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 203522 PTE. J. GREGSON. L.N.LAN.R. 2 Comments
- 203593 PTE. A. BRIERLEY. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 2037 PTE. R. SUTTON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 21607 CPL. C. DUNN. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 22357 PTE. J. BRETLAND. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 22405 PTE. W. MILLER. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 22501 PTE. T. JACKSON. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 22615 PTE. L. CARDWELL. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 22715 PTE. J. ROBINSON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 22797 PTE. W. JACKSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 23195 PTE. H. DAWSON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 23579 PTE. W. HELMN. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 241301 PTE. A. NUTTALL. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 24615 PTE. A. J. MOSS. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 24648 PTE. J. DOOLAN. L.N.LAN.R. 4 Comments
- 24683 LCPL. R. BLEASE. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 25307 PTE. T. BARNES. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 25413 PTE. E. A. BARKER. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 25724 PTE. F. KEEN. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 25748 PTE. H. HALL. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 25858 PTE. J. DUNN. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 27588 PTE. R. PHILLIPSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 27612 PTE. A. J. DAMSELL. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 27627 PTE. S. TITTENSOR. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 27639 PTE. R. BANKS. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 28739 PTE. H. MERCER. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 29717 PTE. G. H. BELLAMY. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
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- 2nd Lt. Claude Arthur Stephen Bidwell 3 Comments
- 2nd Lt. Harold Stephen Boxer 1 Comment
- 32033 PTE. W. HARRISON. L.N.LAN.R. 5 Comments
- 32491 PTE. A. JELLICOE. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 33198 PTE. J. LEAVER. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 33813 PTE. F. J. BARKER. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 33859 CPL. T. H. MAXFIELD. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 33921 LCPL. A. W. BULL. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 34090 PTE N. S. TOWNSLEY. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 36921 PTE. G. PEMBERTON. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 3737 WO II. J. LAWTON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 6446 SGT. W. EDDLESTON. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
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- Captain George William Ainsworth 7 Comments
- Captain James Arthur Gravett 2 Comments
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- The case of Serjeant James Hetherington Pearson 0 Comments
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- 242529 LCPL. R. MONKS. L.N.LAN.R.
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- 426279 ACPL. W. H. THOMAS. R.E.
- 13509 PTE. A. FARNWORTH. L.N.LAN.R.
- 201200 PTE. T. ALMOND. L.N.LAN.R.
- 3745 PTE. W. NELSON. L.N.LAN.R.
- 23580 PTE. J. H. SHARPLES. L.N.LAN.R.
- 25872 PTE. G. A. RABY. L.N.LAN.R.
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- “I firmly believe I will pull through,” he proudly stated “The Germans can break my head, but they can never break my heart”
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