Thomas MURCH
Rank: Private
Number: 29304
Unit: 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers
Date of Death: 22 March 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Poelcapelle British Cemetery, Poelkapelle, Belgium

Little is known about Tom Murch's life. His parents were Alfred, a cotton doubler and Mary (nee Shore). The couple had married in 1895 at St Mary's Church Stockport. In 1901, when the census was taken, the family was living at 16 Adcroft Street, Stockport and they then also had a 2 month old daughter, Clara. The family probably continued to worship at St Mary's Church and Tom would later attend the Church's Sunday School (and be commemorated on its "Old Boys" War Memorial.

Tom has a relatively early service number suggesting that he enlisted underage. However, his medal entitlement records at the National Archives do not mention a date for him first going overseas, suggesting that it was after the beginning of 1916 when the practice of recording dates was discontinued. He would probably have been 18 and "of age" by then.

On 22 March 1918, the Borderers were coming to the end of a tour of duty in the front line trenches. Miles to the south, in the Somme area, the German Army had launched a ferocious and overwhelming attack on the British lines but near Poelcapelle the men spent a quiet night. The next day, work was undertaken to improve the trench system and, in particular, its drainage. The Battalion's War Diary records that Battalion HQ was shelled between 3.15 and 3.30pm and this is probably when Tom was killed.

   
           
   
     
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