Thomas NIELD
Rank: Private
Number: 20096
Unit: 15th Battalion ROYAL SCOTS
Date of Death: 1 July 1916
Age: 24
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

When the 1901 census as taken, the Nield family was living at 23 Russell Street, Cale Green. Thomas Nield, then 38, worked as a silk hat shaper in one of the local hatworks. His wife, Priscilla was 41. Their two eldest children, William and Mary, also worked in the hatting industry. Other children at home were James (12), Squire (11), Thomas (9), John (5) and Walter (2).

Thomas, junior, had received some of his education at Heaviley Sunday School and is commemorated on its Roll of Honour. The School magazine described him as "a young man of singularly happy disposition, always ready to smile on the busiest day....Everybody knew him; everybody liked him.

 He was a keen sportsman, who played football for a local team. He had also gone to work as a hatter and was employed by Kershaw, Leese & Co at the Company's India Mills.

He was engaged to Edith Kerr who lived down the road at 83 Russell Street and, on 14 August 1915, they got married. They set up home at 73 Winifred Street but it's not known how much time they had together as, by then, Thomas will have already joined the army, probably in the previous autumn. The Royal Scots went overseas in January 1916 and he was killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme described here.

When the local press reported his death, the newspaper noted that three of his brothers were also serving. John was in France (but would be killed in action in 1918). Walter was still in training. Squire (whose address was 20 Russell Street) was serving with the Royal Flying Corps and had recently been awarded the French Croix de Guerre.

Thomas' body was never recovered from the battlefield and identified.

His name is also commemorated on the War Memorial at St Georges Church and the work of a previous research project into those listed is acknowledged.

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