Private Thomas BLOOD
           (Lance Corporal in CWGC & SDGW records)


Regiment/Service:
Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
(Formerly: Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment))
Unit:
94th Company
Service Number:
27541
[Formerly: 17/31926 Sherwood Foresters]
Date of Death:
26 July 1916 - Killed in Action
Age:
29
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
III. B. 14.



Personal History:

Thomas was born in December 1887, the son of Thomas and Sarah Anne (née Bennett) Blood, of Harpur Hill, Buxton. He had three older brothers and sisters, Margaret Hannah, Sarah J. and Samuel, and four younger siblings, Mary Elizabeth, Daniel, William and Harry. (1901 Census RG 13/3271) (Four of the brothers - Harry was too young - enlisted.)
By 1911 (Census RG 14/21239) the family had moved from 26 to 18 Harpur Hill, and Thomas was working as a "Quarryman".

On the 25th December 1913 Thomas married Dora Paley, at St. James' Church, Harpur Hill. They had two children, Gladys Mary, born 28th June 1914, and Mary L., born 14th June 1916, in South Shields. When Thomas enlisted in 1915 he gave his address as 21 Rock Bank Terrace, Harpur Hill, he was 5 ft. 5 ins. (1.65 m) tall and his religion as 'Church of England'.

After the War Dora's address was recorded as 103 Hudson Street, Lyne Dock, South Shields. She was awarded a pension of 18s. 6d. (92 p) for herself and the two children. (Thomas' younger brother Daniel died of wounds on 28th March 1918. In reporting Daniel's death, 'The Buxton Advertiser' of 13th April 1918 also stated that a third son had given up his life and another had lost a leg. Although not appearing on the Buxton memorial, the third brother to be killed was Samuel, on 21st October 1916 - see Footnotes below.)

Military History:
Thomas enlisted at Buxton in the 19th (Reserve) Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, on 1st November 1915. Six weeks later, on 11th December he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. The 94th Company was formed in Grantham and from 14th March 1916 he was stationed there and was promoted to Lance Corporal on 28th April 1916.

Thomas embarked for France from Southampton 18 days later, on 16th May 1916, arriving at Le Havre the following day, and survived just 39 days before being killed in action on the 26th July. The 94th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps, joined the 94th Brigade, 31st Division, on the 21st of May 1916. Thomas' Company saw action at Serre during the Battle of Albert, 1st - 13th July 1916, the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme.

On 26th July Thomas, along with Cpl. John CLARK and Pt. Fred WINDLE, was killed in action - possibly together, by a shell burst  - although they are not buried together. He was killed only 39 days after arriving in France. Thomas is buried near the village of Richebourg-l'Avoue, 9 kilometres north-east of Bethune.

'The Buxton Advertiser' of the 19th August 1916 published a letter received by Thomas' mother from Lieutenant V. S. Clare Hill, which read:

"I take this opportunity of expressing, on behalf of the officers and men of the company, our regret at your husband's death. He was an exceedingly good N.C.O., and his absence is very deeply felt by all who knew him."


Footnotes:
· Daniel's older brother Private Samuel BLOOD, 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, was killed in action on 21 October 1916.
  Samuel's name does not appear on the Buxton Memorial, but he is named on the Memorial at Glossop, Derbyshire, where he
  was living at the time of his enlistment. In the December quarter 1910 Samuel had married Sarah Anne Nixon. The 1911 Census
  (RG 14/21236) shows him working as an "Attendant" at Wyehouse, Corbar Road, Buxton. At the time this was being used as
  a Hospital, predominantly for Canadian service men. She was lodging at 41 Manchester Road, Buxton, (Census RG 14/21236)
  and they had a two year old son, Daniel.

  One of the many phases in the Battle of the Somme, 1916, was the advance on Ancre Heights. Samuel was in the front line
  that advanced in three waves and took its objective, but 12 Officers and 198 men of his Battalion were killed during the advance.
  Samuel was one of them and is buried in Stump Road Cemetery, Grandcourt.

· Thomas' younger brother Private Daniel BLOOD, 16th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters Regiment, died of wounds on
   28 March 1918

· The youngest of the brothers to serve, Private 41463 William BLOOD, also enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters Regiment,
   rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. 'The Buxton Advertiser', 27 August 1918, reported that he had lost a leg whilst in action.

· The fourth family member in the photo - right - was the brothers' cousin, Private 25750 Robert BLOOD, originally 16th
   Battalion, later 2/7th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters. He left a Diary outlining his Great War experiences which shows
   that he enlisted about 3rd May 1915 and went to France at the start of 1916, into the trenches at Lavantie then La Bassée
   canal and on to Festubert, on to the Bethune Front. He was wounded at Festubert and lay in no man's land for 4 hours,
   wounded in left leg, hip and knee, before being 'brought in by stretcher bearers at daybreak '. He was wounded was 'in a raid
   with great loss' and his diary also states that he was 'taken back to England on July 19th' (1916). 'The Buxton Advertiser' of
   the 19th August 1916 reported that Robert had been wounded. "He has been hit in the thigh and also below the knee, and is
   in hospital at Brentford Essex."

   Robert gives a little more detail later on when he returned to France with The 2/7s, seeing action at Peronne, Vimy Ridge and
   Pilckem Ridge, on the way to Passchendale Ridge, then on to Cambrai. The only locations mentioned after that are Kemmel
   Woods where they 'met the Germans' and 'drove them back beyond Nerva Glees, about 3 miles, taking 90 prisoners'.

   In 1922 Robert married Lily Mellor, the sister of Pt. 241566 James MELLOR, Sherwood Foresters Regiment, who died of wounds,
   26 March 1918. [Robert's life is the subject of a recently published book called "The Valiant", by Beverley Oakley.
   CLICK the image on the right to find out how to buy a copy of this excellent biography.]


Sources:
· The Buxton Advertiser, 19 & 27 August 1916 and 13 April 1918
· I am also grateful to Beverley Oakley for additional family details.

Link to CWGC Record
Pt. Thomas Blood's Grave
The Blood family soldiers
poppy
The Blood Brothers were the subject of an article in the Buxton Advertiser in November 2013 - written by the site author

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