THOMAS HENSHALL 

Thomas HENSHALL
Rank: Private
Service Number:52592.
Regiment: 11th Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Died Monday 13th August 1917
Age 24
County Memorial Poynton
Commemorated\Buried Ypres (menin Gate) Memorial
Grave\Panel Ref: Panel 19-22
CountryBelgium

Thomas's Story.

5thArmy ,25th Division 75th Brigade, 11 Corps

Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial 

Ypres (now Leper) is a town in the Province of West Flanders in Belgium which was totally destroyed in the First World War. The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to Menin. 

The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the First World War battlefields. It now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The Memorial, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, was unveiled by Lord Plumer in July 1927. 

Each night at 8 pm the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial's arches. 

 

Thomas, the son of Thomas and Maria, enlisted in Stockport. He worked as a coal hewer in Lord Vernon’s mines. The family had had 5 children Florence, John, Ethel, Thomas, and Samuel. They lived at 129 Haig Lane Poynton

Capture of Westhoek ridge 

The 25th Division was in Corps Reserve, behind the 24th, 30th and 8th Divisions which were in the front line.  The Third Battle of Ypres (better known as Paschendaele) had been launched on 31 July. There had been an initial success early on the first day, but the attack had quickly become stalled in the rain and mud.

 The 11th battalion went into the support trenches at Westhoek Ridge, to the east of Ypres (now Leper). They would stay here until the 6th when they were relieved to dugouts at The Esplanade, Ypres. . 

The Battalion's War Diary records that during the whole tour of duty the weather was very bad and the trenches "where they existed" were knee deep in water. During this period, 22 members of the Battalion were killed. On the 9th August, the Cheshire’s were again relieved and moved back to Halifax Camp southwest of Vlamertinge.

On the night of the 11th 12th August 1917, the Battalion again moved up to the Westhoek Ridge, relieving the 9th loyal North Lancashire Regiment who had advanced the line some 500yards from the position held by the battalion on the 5th . The enemy shellfire during this tour was again very heavy.

On the 13th August, the Battalion were relieved by the 2nd Rifle Brigade and the 2nd Lincolnshire’s and moved back to recuperate at Dominion Camp. The battalion had 10 men K.I.A. one of these men was Thomas.

The 11th Battalion supported the 13th Cheshire Battalion during the fighting to capture Westhoek ridge, carrying supplies and being in readiness to support an attack. The 13th battalion were to suffer many casualties. 107 had been killed and over 260 wounded.

 

Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Phil Underwood for compiling this page on Thomas