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Thomas Horsfield was born in Preston in 1892 the youngest of seven children born to William Edward and Alice Ellen Horsfield (nee Webb). His parents married in the church of St. Paul in Blackburn on the 24th January 1874. A son Edward was born in 1874 and he was followed by; Sarah Ellen (1877), George (1879), John (1883), James (1884) and Florence (1888).

The year before Thomas was born his parents had been running the Prince Albert Tavern on London Road in Preston but by the time Thomas arrived in 1892 the family had moved to North Road in Preston and William Edward Horsfield was working as an `overlooker` in a cotton mill. By 1901 Alice Ellen Horsfield had moved to number 8 Everton Gardens in Preston with sons John, James, Thomas and daughter Florence. Thomas`s two elder brothers were both in work, John was a cotton worker and James was a house painter. It would seem that Thomas`s parents may have parted from each other because his father William Edward was living alone at 37 Alfred Street in Preston in 1901 and was still employed as an overlooker in one of the mills.

In 1911 Thomas, now a house painter by trade had moved to 108 Tithebarn Street in Preston to live with his married sister Sarah Ellen Bell and her husband Edward and their four children. Edward Bell was a tent maker and Sarah Ellen was a tripe dealer and the couple also had another lodger, Edward`s brother Adam Bell who was nineteen years old.

3396 Lance Sergeant Thomas Horsfield 1st4th Battalion

Thomas Horsefield taken circa 1910 is reproduced with the kind permission of relative, Simon Bell.

Thomas enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 30th November 1914. He had no previous military experience, was unmarried and living with his mother Alice Ellen at 56 North Road in Preston. He was 5`5” tall with a 34 inch chest and he was a house painter. He listed his next of kin as Edward Horsfield of Blackburn and his mother Alice Ellen of North Road in Preston. Thomas was allocated the service number 3396 and was initially posted to the 2/4th Battalion but shortly afterwards was transferred to “D” Company of the 1/4th Battalion LNL.

He sailed to France with the 1/4th Battalion on the 4th May 1915. On the 16th June 1915 the day after the 1/4th Battalion`s first major action at Festubert Thomas was admitted to a field ambulance suffering from `shell shock`. A brief extract from a letter he sent home to his mother appeared later in the Lancashire Daily Post in which he explains what happened to him.

“When I get a rest I shall be ready for the next `do`. A `Jack Johnson` let just by my side, he says; it lifted me up in the air, and when I dropped, it buried me under about half a ton of earth”.

Thomas recovered fairly quickly from his experience and by the following day he had returned to duty with his Battalion. On the 9th August 1915 he was admitted for treatment for scabies, returning to his Battalion on the 30th August.

On the 1st April 1916 he was appointed Lance Corporal and then further promoted to Corporal and then Lance Sergeant on the 11th August 1916 and was posted to “C” Coy.

Approximately six weeks later on the 28th September 1916 Thomas was severely wounded, his papers state that he received gun-shots wounds to his thigh and abdomen although later information mentions that he was wounded by a trench mortar shell.

Lieut. Colonel Ralph Hindle recorded the 1/4th Battalion War Diary entries for the period;

MAMETZ, 24th September 1916

Church Parade. At 1630hrs the Battalion marched off to the trenches and relieved a Battalion of the 165th Infantry Brigade in BROWN TRENCH, in front of DELVILLE WOOD, and close to FLERS.

FLERS, 25th September 1916

Nothing of importance occurred. Two carrying parties, each of 60 men, carried up rations and stores to the units in the front line. Casualties; 1 O.R. Killed, 5 O.R. wounded and 5 O.R. to hospital.

FLERS, 26th September 1916

Morning quiet. A few casualties as a result of hostile shell fire. At 2200hrs the Battalion moved up into the front line and took over from 1/7th Kings Liverpool Regiment in GIRD TRENCH, close to GUEDUECOURT. Casualties – 17 O.R. wounded, 3 O.R. missing and 2 O.R. to hospital sick.

GUEDUECOURT – 27th September 1916

Our artillery very active all day. The 164th Infantry Brigade attacked at 1630hrs, the 8th (Irish) capturing part of GIRD SUPPORT, still held by the enemy. 1/4th N. Lan. R. was in support, but was not required to give any assistance. In the course of the evening, the Battalion relieved the Irish in the captured trench and also occupied with our Company a sunken road running into GUEDUECOURT. The following were the casualties for the day; Officers: killed – 2/Lt. R. Forrest. Wounded – 2/Lt. G. Duerden (slightly). Other ranks; 4 O.R. wounded, 2 O.R. to hospital sick.

GUEDUECOURT – 28th September 1916

Misty with early morning, then mist cleared, a large number of the enemy were seen digging themselves in along a line 800-900 away from our front line. Rifle and machine-gun fire was opened up on them and they suffered several casualties and had to cease work…

From Noon until 1500hrs our trenches and the sunken road held by D Coy were subjected to a very heavy bombardment by the enemy artillery. Casualties under the circumstances were very slight; 6 O.R. killed, 30 O.R. wounded and 3 O.R. to hospital sick.

GUEDUECOURT – 29th September 1916

0100hrs. The Battalion was relieved by the 10th Royal West Kent Regiment, and on relief marched into camp at MAMETZ.

Sadly, Thomas succumbed to his wounds and died the following day, 29th September 1916.

After news of his death had reached home the following article was published in the Preston Guardian.3396 Lance Sergeant Thomas Horsfield 1st4th Battalion 2

A few of Thomas` personal belongings were later returned to his mother in Preston which included;

  • Photos
  • Postcards
  • 1 whistle
  • 1 coin
  • 2 Gospels
  • Half a tin of Zam Buk

Thomas was later laid to rest in Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel – Becourt.

3396 Lance Sergeant Thomas Horsfield 1st4th Battalion CWGC

An early photograph of Thomas Horsefield`s grave reproduced with the kind permission of Simon Bell

After the war his mother took receipt of his 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory Medals. Thomas` mother had the following words inscribed at the foot of her son`s headstone;

“A loved one at rest”

Rank: Lance Serjeant
Service No: 3396
Date of Death: 29/09/1916
Age: 23
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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One Response to 3396 LSJT. T. HORSFIELD. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Raymond nuttall says:

    Raymond Nuttall. my grandma Clara Nuttalls uncle Tom horsfield RIP

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