Rank: Private
Service Number:23982.
Regiment: 7th Bn. Kings Shropshire Light Infantry
Killed In Action Wednesday 28th November 1917
Age 35
County Memorial Stockport
Commemorated\Buried Favreuil British Cemetery
Grave\Panel Ref: II.C.25.

Thomas's Story.

Thomas was born in Marple in 1882, the son of Mrs Elizabeth Barton. There is a register of baptism dated 16th December 1882 in Marple where the father is listed as James it is believed that this is the correct family, it is thought that James had died by the time of the Great War. In 1901, when a census was taken, Thomas was living as a boarder at 10 Reddish Vale, Reddish. He was an apprentice to a baker. By 1911 age 28 Thomas had moved to The Croft, Bamford, Derbyshire he was single and was still working as a baker. Mrs Barton and Thomas' sisters lived at 2 Spring Road, Stockport. Nothing else is known of his private life, except that he enlisted into the army in Stockport and had continued with his craft, becoming a baker and confectioner. At the end of October 1917, the Shropshire’s took over a new section of the front line near Bullecourt at a position only described as the "Apex".  They would stay there for five days before being relieved by the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots and moving back to billets at Vaulx-Vraucourt. Over the coming weeks the two Battalions would alternate five-day tours of duty. It was a quiet time and casualties were minimal. On 24 November, it was the turn of Thomas and his mates to go back into the front line. The next day a great deal of movement was noticed behind the enemy lines and it was thought that the Germans may be withdrawing from their trenches. Strong patrols were sent out into No Man's Land to find out what was going on. The patrols reported that whilst the trenches were generally occupied, the Germans had, indeed, withdrawn from some sectors. These were quickly occupied by the Shropshire’s and, over the coming two days, small sentry posts were dug and barbed wire put out to start to incorporate these gains into the British trench system. The Battalion War Diary notes that this was very difficult as there as hostile machine gun and artillery fire. On the 28th, the work of incorporating the posts into the trench system continued. The Diary again noted that the German artillery was very active and shelled the front-line trenches occupied by the Battalion. Although there is no mention of casualties, it is almost certain that Thomas was killed by this shelling.