THOMAS MATHER (Mentioned in Despatches)

Rank: Private
Service Number: 1073.
Regiment: 1st/6th Bn. Cheshire Regiment Killed In Action Saturday 27th February 1915 Age 22County Memorial Hyde
Grave\Panel Ref: IV.G.26.

Born in 1893 Thomas was the third child born to James and Ellen Mather of 92 Stockport Road, Gee Cross, Hyde. In 1901 his two older siblings were Alice 10, and Jonathon 9, Thomas was 8, and then his younger siblings were Harry 6, Wilfred 5, Ernest 2, and Walter 8 months. Their father, James was working as a bootmaker. In 1911 the family were still living at 92 Stockport Road, James and Ellen had 11 children of which two had died, James was working at Scales boot shop while Thomas worked as a Hopper Filler at Ashton Brothers cotton mill.

Thomas was a pre-war territorial, the pre-war Territorials were mobilised on the day war was declared - Tuesday, 4 August 1914. By the evening, many men had gathered at Stockport's Armoury. They were paraded and sent home till the next morning. By the Sunday, the full complement of men had been assembled. The vast majority volunteered for overseas service and they marched off to Edgeley Station to begin training. This was initially at Church Stretton in Shropshire and, later, at Northampton.

During October, the Battalion's Adjutant noted the poor physique of many of the recruits. This coupled with what he also regarded as poor discipline (due to the fact that soldiers and their NCOs were often friends and neighbours) was making for a difficult time. However, by 9 November, the Battalion was deemed ready to go on active service. The battalion with Thomas landed in France on the 10th November 1914. The battalion carried on training, then on the 11th December 1914 they moved into the trenches at Wulverghem for the first time.

On the 23rd February 1915 the battalion marched to Wulverghem and went into the trenches, Thomas was killed in action on the 27th February 1915, the entry in the battalion war diary simply reads: 1 killed 3 wounded battalion returned to billets. However, within the diaries there is a typed sheet which is headed Record of Gallantry or Distinguished Conduct. It reads:

No 1073 Private T Mather, Near Wulverghem on the 27th Feb 1915 when the battalion were holding the fire trenches, Company Sergeant Major Long of the 6th Cheshire’s was wounded behind the trenches, Private Mather got out of his trench and ran to him to render first aid under heavy fire. He was shot in the head whilst doing so and was killed.