Rank: Private
Service Number: 2858.
Regiment: 1st Bn. Middlesex Regiment Died of wounds Thursday 10th October 1918 Age 30County Memorial Congleton & Buglawton
Grave\Panel Ref: LXV.H.8.

Son of Mr. Thomas Gardiner and Mrs. Mary Ann Gardiner, of 38, Spragg Street, Congleton, Cheshire, and husband of Mrs. Maud Gardiner, 9, King Street, Buglawton, Congleton, Cheshire. They were married at St Stephen's Church, Congleton, Cheshire in 1916. He had six sisters, Eleanor, Edith, Sarah Ann, Alice, Bertha and Lucy Gardiner, along with three brothers, James, William and Frederick Gardiner. In 1911, he was employed as a Bleacher at a Dye Works. Private Thomas Gardiner enlisted in the 8th Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment at Macclesfield on the 27th of August 1914 at the age of 26. He was posted to Park House Camp, Salisbury and later Draycott Camp, Swindon.

After serving for just 72 days, he was discharged as being medically unfit for further service. However, on the 20th of May 1915 he enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment at Congleton and was posted to the 18th Battalion (Pioneers). During the period of October 1916 and December 1917 he saw service in the 6th, 4th and 17th Battalions before finally receiving a posting to the 1st Battalion on the 28th of December 1917. He received gunshot wounds to the arm and shoulder on the 25th of July 1916 and was taken to the No 38 Casualty Clearing Station and then moved to the No 5 General Hospital at Rouen from where he returned to England on the H.S. St. Patrick where he was admitted to the Royal Surrey County Hospital until his recovery on the 4th of August 1916. After suffering from Trench Fever in February 1917 he again returned to England on the S.S. Jan Breydel and was treated at the Western Command Depot at Shoreham on Sea, where he remained until the 28th of June 1917.

Private Thomas Gardiner took part in the Battle of the San Quentin Canal which commenced on the 29th of September 1918. At 05:50 hours, the Fourth Army supported by an intense artillery barrage, attacked on a front of twelve miles between Holnon and Vendhuille. On the right of the Fourth Army the First French Army continued the attack on the San Quentin Sector, on the left two Corps of the Third Army (Vth and IVth) had attacked at an earlier hour between Vendhuille and Marcoing and had heavy fighting at Villers Guislain, Gonnelieu and the Welsh Ridge. In the Vth Corps of the Third Army was the 33rd Division containing the 1St Battalion (98th Brigade) and the 18th Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment. On the night of the 28th/29th the 1st Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment relieved the 5th Battalion, the Scottish Rifles in readiness for operations on the 29th. The objectives allotted to the Battalion ran from Derby post to the eastern end of Villers Hill. Zero hour was 03:30 hours. The dispositions by Companies were "A" on the right, "D" in the centre and "C" on the left. B Company was detailed to "mop up" the enemy's position. The attack was launched at 03:30 hours, under an intense artillery barrage. At first all three of the attacking Battalions of the 98th Brigade (1st Middlesex, 4th King's and the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) reported progress. But later a check occurred. Villers Guislain had been stormed and partially cleared of the enemy, but the latter began to filter back again into the village. The centre Company of the Middlesex met with strong opposition at Gloster Road and "B" Company after capturing 200 Germans, found itself surrounded and cut off. The C.O. of the Battalion reported the situation at 13:00 hours, which showed but little progress. How the missing Companies extricated themselves is unknown but they must have done so, for the casualty list shows only 20 Other Ranks "missing". In the operations on the 29th of September the 1 st Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment lost 4 Officers and 71 Other Ranks killed, 2 Officers and 143 Other Ranks wounded, 1 Officer and 16 Other Ranks gassed and 10 Other Ranks missing. During the action of the 29th of September, Private Thomas Gardiner received serious gunshot wounds and was taken to the No 4 General Hospital, Dannes Camier, where he died of his wounds on the 10th of October 1918. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Extract from the Congleton Chronicle 1918.

Official news has been received by Mrs. Gardiner of Buglawton, that her husband, Private Thomas Gardiner, of the 1 st Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment, died on the 10th of October 1918. Three days prior to his death Mrs. Gardiner was informed by the Matron that her husband was dangerously ill and there were little hopes of his recovery. From the first his condition was serious and though unable to send a message home, he requested that those near and dear to him should be immediately informed if anything happened to him. The sad news of his death cast a gloom over the locality in which he resided and deep sympathy is felt with the widow and relatives in their heavy bereavement.

Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this information on Thomas.