Rank: Private
Number: 12781
Unit: “B” Company, 9th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 2 January 1916
Age: 26
Cemetery: St Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoue, Pas de Calais, France

Tom was born in Stockport, the son of Mrs Margaret Hall, 38 Wellington Road North. There are no records relating to his father who, it must be presumed, had died by the time the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s.

Tom volunteered for the army on 2 September 1914 and, after training, went overseas with the newly formed 9th Battalion, in July 1915.

There is some disagreement in official records about what happened to Tom. On 1 January 1916, the Battalion relieved the 9th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers in the front line trenches near the French village of Neuve Chappelle. The next day, the Battalion's War Diary records "Usual trench routine carried out. One man killed by enemy sniper".

However, regimental records published after the War indicate that two men were killed in action that day. The following letter to Mrs Hall, from Company Sergeant Major H Atkin, appears to confirm that it must have been the other man who was shot by the sniper (this was a Private Arthur Aspey, from Bowden).

CSM Atkin wrote "The circumstances under which he gave his life for King and country were most unfortunate. He was employed in the front line and, at the time, I believe was cleaning his rifle, when a salvo of the enemy's shrapnel burst right over the parapet, quite close to where your boy was standing. Unfortunately, he was badly hit and was rendered unconscious immediately. Three others were hit at the same time. Your poor boy never regained his senses and, although he received every attention, he breathed his last about 15 minutes later. He was given a Christian burial next day in a soldiers' little cemetery in the rear of the line. I may say that your boy was highly esteemed by both the officers and his comrades. His quiet unassuming manner endeared him to all. We miss him greatly and I hope that the knowledge that he gave his young life in the cause we believe to be right in the name of God, King and country, will compensate you all at least a little in your unredeemable loss."

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