- 1st Battalion
- 2nd Battalion
- 3rd (Reserve) Battalion
- 1/4th Battalion
- 2/4th Battalion
- 3/4th and 3/5th Battalions
- 1/5th Battalion
- 2/5th Battalion
- 4/5th Battalion
- 5th Battalion
- 6th (Service) Battalion
- 7th (Service) Battalion
- 8th (Service) Battalion
- 9th (Service) Battalion
- 10th (Service) Battalion
- 11th (Reserve) Battalion
- 1/12th Battalion (Pioneers)
- 2/12th Battalion
- 13th (Home) Battalion
- 14th Battalion
- 15th (Service) Battalion
- Home Service Only
- Battalion not known
Acting 2nd Cpl 6645 – 426279 Walter Herbert Thomas R.E. (attd 1/5th L.N.L.Regt).
Sapper Walter Herbert Thomas was attached to the L.N.L. from the Royal Engineers, he was one of four soldiers awarded the Military Medal for his actions whilst involved in the trench raid on enemy lines at Wieltje, Flanders on 10th January 1917.
Named after his grandfather, Walter was born in 1894 at St Helens, Lancashire to parents Herbert Thomas 21yrs a joiner born at Seacombe, Cheshire and Louisa (nee Owen) also 21, born at St Helens. They married at Walton-On-The-Hill, Everton on 29th June 1885, he had three older sisters: Louisa E (1885), Rachael (1888) and Gertrude (1891). Herbert’s mother had been born in Amsterdam, Holland.
The family lived at a number of homes in St Helens over the years, in 1891 they lived at 119 Morley Street then in 1901 at 72 Atherton Street, Walter was then 6 years of age. In the 1911 census return their home was 5 Kirkland Street, at which time 16 years old Walter was serving an apprenticeship as a draughtsman in the engineering department of the Pilkington Brothers Ltd, Cowley Hill glassworks.
Prior to the outbreak of hostilities of WWI, Walter enlisted at St Helens for overseas service with the Territorial Army on 29th June 1914 he was 19 years 6 months of age, and lived at 130 Oxford Street St Helens, and had 18 months left to serve of his apprenticeship.
Joining the 422nd Field Co of the Royal Engineers as Sapper 6645, he attended the annual training at Hornby Camp near Lancaster between the 2nd to 4th August until the outbreak of hostilities. He later received his inoculations and was vaccinated in November of 1914, his service papers survive.
He landed in France on 15th January 1916 with 2/1st (West Lancashire) Field Company R.E. (T) being part of the 55th Division.
It wasn’t long before he had a skirmish with authority, on 30th January 1916 he was reprimanded for neglect of duty at Albert France, the specifics of the event are not recorded the witnesses for the offence were Col Sgt Maj 6745 W. Fairhurst and Cpl 6321 Crook.
He was in hospital at Le Havre with an undisclosed complaint for a period of a month from 7th May – 4th June 1916 until able to re-join his unit.
After engagements at Guillemont and Ginchy phases of the battles of the Somme, the 55th Division withdrew from the line on 28th September 1916 for a short period of rest away from the front. They returned to the Ypres sector in October 1916 relieving the 29th Division.
The sector of occupation for the Division was the line extending from the village of Wieltje, north east of Ypres, south east to Railway Wood which was on the Ypres – Roulers line, a distance of approx. 3 miles in an arc formation.
According to the War Diary of the 2/1st Field Co R.E. on the 6th January 1917, 1 NCO and 7 O.R.’s including Sapper Thomas were attached to the LNL to be utilised for their specialist knowledge in a forthcoming planned raid on the enemy trenches. For the next five days they would train together and put their particular skills into practice to carry out the action with a view to success, these skills would be useful in destroying any enemy strongpoints they confronted. The preparation culminated on the 9th January 1917 when he was one of the 140 men who marched to spare land near to Ypres prison and practiced their actions that would be put into effect a day later watched by the Divisional Commander who afterwards expressed his approval of their display. The area today is close by the site of the CWGC Ypres Reservoir Cemetery.
On the 10th January 1917 the men of the L.N.L. together with their R.E. colleagues had divided into two groups, left and right parties, both groups had Bangalore torpedoes with them to cut any obstructing enemy wire. There being 8 engineers involved it is reasonable to assume that these men were divided equally between the two parties.
The left party under the command of Lt Robert Keith Makant MC would assemble at 15.00hrs at Lone Farm and the right party under 2nd Lt John Cecil Frankland at Prowse Farm. They moved onto to their jump off point a ditch running S.E from Argyle Farm and at 17.15hrs they left their trenches and approached the enemy defences. The right party was immediately met by a heavy machine gun fire and artillery, a single shell accounted for both Bangalore parties of this group as they moved together and all became casualties.
2nd Lt Frankland had been killed and the reserve officer 2nd Lt Charles Warburton Whitaker who had also been wounded gave the order to retire as the wire they encountered had not been cut and they no longer had the means to destroy it. The left party gained their objective and was successful in their attempts in the enemy trenches though the raid had been costly.
Of the officers 1 had been killed and 2 wounded and of the other ranks 7 had been killed and 49 wounded with 4 missing presumed dead, of the wounded some would later die of their wounds.
Thomas survived the raid and won the Military Medal for his efforts. There are no records to prove which party he was with or any surviving MM citation, but is most likely he was present with ‘B’ the Left party that succeeded in entering the trench and to being involved in destroying the enemy strongpoints which were encountered.
After his exploits he was allowed 10 days port to port home leave from 15th -25th January 1917.
His battalion War Diary for the 27th January records:
“6645 Sapper W.H. Thomas awarded Military Medal for work on night of 10/1/1917 “
The Schedule Number recorded for his MM is 68647 the fourth in a sequence of Schedule No’s connected with the raid and has the same Registered Paper Number of 68/121/158 as the three other Military Medalists concerned. The award of his MM appeared in the London Gazette of 12th March 1917.
Exactly one year later on 14th March 1918 his mother Mrs Louisa Thomas of 130 Oxford St, St Helens would be presented with his MM by the Mayor, Ald Henry Baker Bates at a ceremony at St Helens Town Hall.
In 1917 with the change to the Army numbering system his army number became 426279.
On his return to 55th Division from home leave he resumed his work, promotion followed on 1st August 1917 when he became acting second corporal.
He was present for the Third Battle of Ypres at the Battle of Menin Road on 20th September 1917, the 55th Division suffered heavy casualties here and it was during this battle that he too was killed.
The following excerpt appeared in the St Helens Newspaper and Advertiser:
Military Medalist Killed
“Mr and Mrs H. Thomas of 130 Oxford Street have received the sad news that their only son Corporal W. H. Thomas, of the Royal Engineers was killed in action on the 20th September. He was in the Engineers before the war broke out, and was mobilised with them at the outbreak of the war. He went out to France a year and eight months ago and so gallantly did he perform the duties that fell to his lot that in January last he was awarded the Military Medal which unfortunately had not been presented to him before his death, though he had received the ribbon. He was only 23 years of age, and before the war was engaged as an engineer at Messrs Pilkington’s Cowley Hill Glassworks. His mother has received the following letter:- Dear Mrs Thomas- I understand that my section officer has written you a letter conveying the sad news that your son Walter has fallen in action , and as Walter’s sergeant I find it my duty to write expressing the whole sections sincere sympathy with you in the great burden and trouble you have to bear, also to tell you of the brave and gallant way he and a comrade bore themselves in action. It was Walter and a few comrades that led the way under heavy shell fire, and showed splendid example to others. Second Corporal Thomas and Sapper Clifford were buried where they fell and two crosses with suitable inscriptions have been erected over their resting place, the exact location you will receive from the authorities in due course. Walter was exceedingly popular with all of No 3 Section, and he and I worked together in the orderly room (in England) soon after the company was formed and I can only tell you how we all liked him, as an N.C.O. and also as a very bright and cheerful comrade. It will be a consolation to you to know that he suffered no pain, death being instantaneous, and to know that he faced what was before him with splendid soldierly courage and bravery. With No. 3 Section’s sincerest sympathy. – Yours very sincerely S.H. Lewis Sergt.”
His body was later buried in New Irish Farm Cemetery, at St Jean-Les-Ypres, Belgium grave A 3 of plot IX. On his CWGC headstone his parents had the following sentiment carved: “He will not come back to us, but we shall go to him”.
His name also appears on the Roll of Honour at St Marks Church, North Road, St. Helens.
His soldier’s (monetary) effects were claimed on 6th July 1920, and besides his Military Medal he was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal received on 21st March 1922 and the Territorial Force War Medal which was signed for on 18th October 1922.
His Victory Medal alone appeared for sale on a well- known auction site in November 2018, and it is believed that his MM had previously appeared for sale in Canada.
Present in his service file are several inclusions which refer to his initials as W.H.D. Thomas although nothing further can be found as to what the third initial may stand for. Also present is Army Form B178 (Medical History), this form notes his birthplace as Merthyr Tydfil, Swansea, this is most likely a transcription error by the writer for another soldier with the same name and which remained with this file. His birthplace of Prescot, St Helens is confirmed in his enlistment papers and also in other independent documents examined.
Garry's grandfather and great uncles served in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment during WWI, 2 Gt uncles were KIA at Ypres and Mesopotamia. A regular worldwide battlefield visitor and exhibitor at the OMRS Convention he spent 36 years as a civil and RAF policeman and served on operations in Bosnia, Cyprus, Kenya, North, Central and South America.
(This post has been visited 39 times in the last 90 days)
PAGESHome Sitemap - Website Index Roll of Honour Research Request Pending Requests Contact Us FEATURED ARTICLES A Reservist in France Diary of Thomas Ainscough M.M. Diary of a Second Lieutenant Festubert June 1915 Letters of James Craig and Benny Hobson Experiences of Gallipoli From Mons to the First Battle of Ypres 5th Bn Trench Raid at Wieltje QUICK PICKS The LNL Regimental History 1914 - 19 Search British Newspapers Research WW1 Soldiers Dates of Entry
This website is run by volunteers whose time is given freely. If you would like to help us towards the costs of maintaining the website, subscriptions to research websites and visits to archives it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you to all who have supported our project
- 12796 PTE. T. WOODS. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 13097 LCPL. C. E. PARKINSON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 13195 PTE. J. FAZACKERLEY. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 1408 PTE. J. T. BROOKS. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 16915 PTE. J. R. HAYES. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 1737 PTE. J. LANE. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 1878 PTE. J. IDLE. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 1944 SJT. D. ROBINSON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 1959 PTE. W. HOPKINSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 200172 PTE. R. ECKTON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 200645 CPL T. JEMSON. L.N.LAN.R 6 Comments
- 201472 PTE. W. H. HUNTER. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 203143 PTE. J. HOGARTH. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 20950 PTE. J. HALL. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 2247 CPL. T. GASKELL. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 240234 LCPL. F. HILTON. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 240593 PTE. J. SMITH. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 240629 PTE. T. JACKSON. L.N.LAN.R 5 Comments
- 240742 PTE. E. REEVES. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 241150 SJT. A. KEMP. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 241173 CPL. C. GROGNET. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 241300 CPL. W. HOLLAND. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 241337 SJT. L. MASON. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 241386 PTE. P. SMITH. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 241435 PTE. J. MADEN. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 241726 PTE. H. ELLIS. L.N.LAN.R 3 Comments
- 242139 CPL. T. DOWBEKIN. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 242529 LCPL. R. MONKS. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 242878 CPL. F. TAYLOR. L.N.LAN.R. 2 Comments
- 243034 CPL. T. BARLOW. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 243043 PTE. J. C. LAIDLAW. L.N.LAN.R 3 Comments
- 243257 PTE. H. HEYWORTH. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 243326 PTE. R. W. BARLOW. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 243367 SJT. W. AINSWORTH. L.N.LAN.R 2 Comments
- 243404 PTE. H. FLETCHER. L.N.LAN.R 6 Comments
- 243415 PTE. A. COLLINS. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 243566 PTE. T. LIVESEY. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 243568 PTE. G. SPENCER. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 243575 PTE. T. GREENHALGH. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 2436 ACPL. L. T. TILL. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 243742 PTE. J. MASTERSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 243749 PTE. F. GILL. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 243865 PTE. R. CRITCHLEY. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 27585 PTE. C. WHITTLE. L.N.LAN.R. 1 Comment
- 2778 PTE. W. HAYDOCK. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 2819 PTE. E. NUTTALL. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 29189 LCPL. G. SLACK. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 29206 PTE. J. A. WOOD. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 29221 PTE. R. WOOLSTENHULME. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 29817 PTE. L. CATTERALL. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 2nd Lieutenant John Cecil Frankland 0 Comments
- 2nd Lt. Ernest Augustus Hollinrake M.C 0 Comments
- 3094 PTE. F. HARLING. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 31217 PTE. E. G. RONSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 3128 PTE. T. WARBURTON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 31282 PTE. R. ECCLES. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 3260 LCPL. A. GUFFOGG. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 3278 PTE. J. DOOHAN. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 3469 PTE. R. H. TYRER. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 3480 PTE. J. CROMPTON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 3522 LCPL. W. P. MEADOWS. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 36771 PTE. H. GIBSON. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 36851 PTE. W. BAMBER. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 36921 PTE. G. PEMBERTON. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 36926 PTE. R. W. JOHNSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 36947 PTE. H. HINDLE. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 3714 PTE. J. IRELAND. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 426279 ACPL. W. H. THOMAS. R.E. 0 Comments
- 4317 PTE. H. FERGUSON. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 440 CPL. W. GASKELL. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 4540 PTE. J. A. BROUGHTON. L.N.LAN.R. 3 Comments
- 4725 PTE. T. MUNROE. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 49115 PTE. A. LOMAX. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 606 LSJT. G. H. HOWARTH. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- 6591 PTE. J. S. OWENS. L.N.LAN.R. 3 Comments
- 7538 PTE. T. TAYLOR. L.N.LAN.R 1 Comment
- 7845. CPL. A. COBHAM. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- 7930 PTE. J. WISEMAN. L.N.LAN.R. 0 Comments
- Captain Angus Virtue MAKANT 0 Comments
- Captain Robert Keith MAKANT M.C.* 0 Comments
- Henry and Thomas C Marshall 1 Comment
- Obituary Poems: 243809 PTE. A. WARD. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- PTE. J. GREAVES. L.N.LAN.R 0 Comments
- The Longworth Brothers 0 Comments
- The Norburn Brothers 0 Comments
- The Royse Brothers of Bolton 0 Comments
- Second Lieutenant James Albert Tinsley DCM MM
- 242529 LCPL. R. MONKS. L.N.LAN.R.
- The Royse Brothers of Bolton
- 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.
- 203806 PTE. J. ROBERTS. L.N.LAN.R.
Men of the 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment! I wish to bring home to you the fact that we have a hard task before us. We are out to fight a great nation and men who are out for blood. This Regiment have always been top-dogs even with the boys” (meaning time-serving men: they had that year won nine football cups out of a possible eleven, besides other sporting competitions). “What are we going to do now that we have the men?” (meaning the Reservists). “None of you men will come back–nor the next lot–nor the next after that–nor the next after that again; but some of the next might. But we’ll give those Germans something to go on with, and we’ll give a good account of ourselves! Remember, men, the eyes of the whole world will be upon us, and I know that you will perform whatever task is allotted to you, like men.
Colonel G C Knight
1st Battalion, August 1914.
- Men of the 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment! I wish to bring home to you the fact that we have a hard task before us. We are out to fight a great nation and men who are out for blood. This Regiment have always been top-dogs even with the boys” (meaning time-serving men: they had that year won nine football cups out of a possible eleven, besides other sporting competitions). “What are we going to do now that we have the men?” (meaning the Reservists). “None of you men will come back–nor the next lot–nor the next after that–nor the next after that again; but some of the next might. But we’ll give those Germans something to go on with, and we’ll give a good account of ourselves! Remember, men, the eyes of the whole world will be upon us, and I know that you will perform whatever task is allotted to you, like men. Colonel G C Knight
Most Viewed Posts
- Roll of Honour
- SWB Numbers
- Officers’ Service Records (TNA)
- The sinking of SS Transylvania 1917
- Festubert Personal Accounts and Casualties
- Casualties of CHUNUK BAIR (6th Bn)
- The McDougall Brothers of Longridge
- WW1 Practice trenches at Penally, Tenby.
- Diary of a Second Lieutenant (1st Battalion)
- War Diaries: Index (TNA)
- Sinking of the Aragon: 30th December 1917
- Photo: Unknown soldier portrait
- My Experiences in Gallipoli
- Photo: A group of 4th Bn Soldiers
- 1/4th Bn Officers
- WITH A RESERVIST IN FRANCE by Private Frederick Bolwell
- WW1: Victoria Crosses: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
- The diary of Thomas Ainscough 1st-4th Battalion
- Preston Pals War Memorial
- Captain Francis Desmond Talbot Coke
- RT @AndyJMAdams: Another great #Loyals postcard from Stockport Militaria Fair. Possible Bolton Loyal to his wife or mother (Mrs O’Hara of 1…
about 1 month ago
- @AndyJMAdams @JanetDa06222191 Not someone I recognise Andy. Nice pick up though :)
about 1 month ago
- I’ve accepted a challenge from @AndyJMAdams to post the covers of 7 books that I enjoy: no explanations, no reviews… https://t.co/QPdSDJcvjh
about 1 month ago
- RT @AndyJMAdams: Another great #Loyals postcard from Stockport Militaria Fair. Possible Bolton Loyal to his wife or mother (Mrs O’Hara of 1…