Thomas John GLASSEY
Rank: Private
Number: 19516
Unit: 19th Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
Date of Death: 30 July 1916
Age: 31 (based on 1901 Census information)
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Sarah Beddow and John Glassey (a railway plate-layer), married in Whitchurch, Shropshire in the early months of 1884. The following year, Thomas was born. He was followed by Mary who was born about 1890. Thomas' youngest sister,Selina, was born in Crowden, Cheshire, around1895.

By 1901, when the Census was taken, the family was living at 47 Fountain Street, Godley and there was a new addition to the family. Percy had been born only three months before. Thomas had left school and was also working for one of the railway companies as a train recorder.

The family would later move to the Stockport area over the years living at 2 Eadie Street, 6 Mount Pleasant and 16 Norris Bank Terrace.

On 7 September 1914, Thomas went into Manchester and volunteered for the army and he was assigned to the 13th Battalion of the King's Regiment. His service papers still exist at the National Archives. They show him to have been 5' 5" tall and weighing 128 pounds. He gave his address as 27 Beech Road, Gorton, Manchester and his religious denomination as Wesleyan. He was still working for the railway but now as a brakesman.

Whilst in training at Aldershot, he found himself in trouble for overstaying a leave pass between 9.30pm on 24 August 1915 and 28 August. He was fined five days pay and was put in detention for 120 hours. The next month, he left for France with the Battalion.

He suffered from appendicitis in the December. And, on 19 February 1916, he was admitted to 7 Field Ambulance suffering with bronchitis and he did not rejoin his unit until 3 March. A week later he was readmitted to the Field Ambulance with laryngitis and a kidney stone problem and was transferred, via a field hospital, to 23 General Hospital at Etaples on the Channel coast. Thomas was discharged form hospital on 12 April and assigned to 251 Base Depot. On 26 April, he was back at a field hospital (46 Casualty Clearing Station). He only appears to have spent a day there before being returned to the Depot.

On 4 May, he returned to duty and was reassigned to 3rd Entrenching Battalion and, on the 24th, he was posted to 19th Battalion, King's (Liverpool) Regiment.

The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July and, at least in the south of the battlefield, there had been early success, with all the first day's objectives captured. The men of 89th Brigade (Liverpool Pals) and 90th Brigade (Manchester Pals) had taken the village of Montauban. They had been back in action in the middle of the month in a desperate and, at the time, unsuccessful attack on their next objective - Trones Wood. By the end of the month, the Wood had been captured and the objective was the village of Guillemont lying just beyond it. The Pals Battalions were to be back in action on the early morning of the 30th.

Zero hour was 4.45am and, as dawn broke, thick mist could be seen over the battlefield reducing visibility to 40 yards. This was too big an attack to postpone and the men advanced on schedule. Their target was Falfemont Farm and the German trenches around it. The official history of 89th Brigade takes up the story. "We started off well. There was a trench just in front of us, with the remains of a little farm there, and we had a little plan by which the French made a dash from the south and we from the west and nipped it off, allowing the line to go forward. It was most successful and we scuppered the Boches there and there were a lot. It took them completely by surprise and they were all lying down in the bottom of the trench. Of course there was a lot of "Kamerad" business, but that is not though much of now and only one was taken prisoner."

The two companies of King's attacking on the left suffered many casualties from machine gun fire but reached their objectives south of an orchard on the south east corner of the village. They held on here until about 8am, when the pressure of German counter-attacks forced them to fall back.

The two right-hand companies had attacked between Maltz Horn Farm and Arrow head Copse, gaining their first objective. As they resumed their advance, they also lost men to machine gun fire and had no option but to pull back to the captured first trench.

Some time during the day, Thomas was killed. This was, almost certainly, whilst he was in the thick of the fighting in the forward positions. As the King's men retreated, it was not practical to recover the dead. It was not until November, when the fighting in this area stopped, that Thomas' body was able to be buried by men of the 11th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps. In the remaining years of the War, the location of his grave was lost or, at least, the identification marker was lost and he now has no known burial place.

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