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coupe2Thomas Coupe was born on 25 December, 1890 in Bamber Bridge near Preston. He was the son of Hugh and Alice Jane Coupe (nee Orrell). Hugh and Alice Jane had married in 1887.

Thomas was one of seven children born to Hugh and Alice Jane but only Thomas and his brother John (1888) survived. Sadly the other five children all died James (1892-1892), Elizabeth Alice (1894-1894), Joseph (1895-1895), William (1896-1897) and William (1897-1898).

Unfortunately Thomas`s father Hugh passed away on 8 February, 1899 and was buried in St. Mary`s RC Church in Bamber Bridge.

In 1901 Alice Jane Coupe and her two surviving sons Thomas and John were living with Alice Jane`s widowed mother Elizabeth Orrell at 88 School Lane, Bamber Bridge. Thomas was at school and his mother was employed as a cotton weaver in a local mill. John aged 13 was at school and was also a `part-timer` in the cotton mill. Grandmother Elizabeth Orrell was housekeeping for Alice Jane and the two boys.

Thomas`s brother John married Emma Ledger on 9 July, 1907 in St. Mary`s RC Church, Bamber Bridge.

On 21 May, 1908 also at St. Mary`s RC Church Thomas`s mother Alice Jane remarried to Henry Mercer. Henry had recently been widowed and he had nine children. The following year Alice Jane and Henry had a son they named Joseph Bernard. In 1911 Alice Jane was living with her husband Henry, their son Joseph Bernard and her nine stepchildren in a four roomed cottage at 6 Smith Street, Bamber Bridge.

The 1911 Census shows Thomas was boarding with his brother John and his wife Emma and their two children Ruth and Hugh. They were living not far away from their mother at 7 Charnley Fold, Bamber Bridge. Thomas was employed as a weaver in a local mill.

When war broke out Thomas went off to enlist. He was posted to the 1/4th Battalion and allocated the service number 6. Unfortunately his service papers do not appear to have survived so there is no further information available.

On the 2 May, 1915 an advance party consisting of 3 Officers and 104 other ranks boarded the SS Rossetti at Southampton bound for Le Havre. Thomas left with the remainder of the Battalion going from Bedford to Folkestone. It was here they boarded the SS Onward and then sailed for Boulogne in the early morning of the 4 May, 1915.

The total strength of the Battalion was now 31 Officers and 1003 non-commissioned officers and men.

Thomas would have taken part in and survived the 1/4th Battalion actions on the 15 June, 1915 during the Battle of Festubert. The 1/4th Battalion suffered enormous casualties losing 431 men who were killed, wounded or missing.

Private Thomas Coupe was killed in action three months later on 11 September, 1915.

Extract from Battalion history

On the 27th (July) we left for LA GORGUE Station, where we entrained and arrived at CALAIS at 8 p.m., then on via ABBEVILLE and AMIENS to CORBIE, where we detrained and marched to billets at RIBEMONT. On the 31st (July) we went to MARTINSART being then in Divisional Reserve. Here we remained for a week training.

We relieved the 25th Lancashire Fusiliers on the 6th August in Sector B. A, B and C Companies were in the fire trench ; D Company in support at POSTE LESDOS ; Battalion HQ in AVELUY WOOD south of AUTHUILLE. The trenches were cut in the solid chalk hardly any sandbags – and the French had made the dug-outs very comfortable. The barbed wire was thick.

On the morning of September 4th the enemy shelled the trenches at POSTE LESDOS fairly heavily, and one shell burst in the midst of a working party, killing one and wounding five other ranks of D Company, whilst a week later (11th) one Other Rank was killed.

The following newspaper article appeared in the Preston Guardian not long after Thomas was killed.


Private Thomas Coupe was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals and is buried in Aveluy Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.

Rank: Private
Service No: 6
Date of Death: 11/09/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Additional family information
coupe3Thomas`s brother also enlisted. 11576 Private John Coupe, 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment. John was killed in action almost a year after Thomas on 6 September, 1916. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial. John was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.


Janet Davis
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