Thomas WOOD
Rank: Private
Number: S/11518
Unit: C Company, 8th Battalion SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS
Date of Death: 10 May 1916
Age: 24
Cemetery: Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Thomas was born in Hazel Grove, the son of James and Jeannie Garson Wood. He had a sister (name unknown) who by 1916 had married a Mr Wilkinson and was living at 18 Beechfield Road, Davenport, Stockport.

In the late autumn of 1914, recruiting sergeants from more than one Scottish Regiment visited Manchester to sign up men. Although Thomas does not appear to have any Scottish connections many young men decided that joining a kilted Regiment added to their excitement about going to fight for their country. His service number is fairly low suggesting he may have been one of these recruits who formed part of the newly formed 8th Battalion. If so, then he will have gone overseas in May 1915.

A year later, Thomas was in the "Quarry Section" trenches near the French town of Bethune. The Battalion's War Diary records that, at 5am, their positions were shelled with shrapnel, high explosive and heavy mortar shells. At 9.30am, there was another bout of  shelling and, this time, the Seaforths responded by firing about 100 rifle grenades at the German front line.

The Battalion Chaplain wrote to Thomas' family telling them that he had been badly wounded by one of the shells and had died soon afterwards. "I am glad to assure you he did not suffer much. His loss is keenly felt for he was a brave soldier and had a devotion to duty and a high character which earn the respect of both officers and men. He was buried along with another comrade and the internment, in the still hours of the night, was very impressive. Crosses were placed to mark their graves."

Thomas and his comrade would have been buried just behind the trenches. Many of these front line burial areas were destroyed by shellfire in the following two years of war. Thomas now has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Loos.

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