Private Tom Brewster HORN


Regiment/Service:
King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Unit:
1/5th Battalion
Service Number:
24971
Date of Death:
3 May 1917 - Killed in Action
Age:
23
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Panel 97 - 98.

Personal History:

Tom was born in the September quarter 1894, the son of Thomas (Railway Goods Guard) and Susannah (née Brewster) Horn, of 14 Ash Terrace, Fairfield, Buxton. He had a younger sister, Elsie Anne. (1901 Census RG 13/3270)

In 1911 the family had moved to 51 Nunsfield Road, Buxton and Tom was working as an "Ironmongers Errand Boy". (Census RG 14/21235). He later changed his employment to the railway and was working in Wakefield, Yorkshire when the War began.

'The Buxton Advertiser', when reporting his death, stated that: ".. he would be remembered as one of the bright and attentive boys of Buxton Parish Church Choir."

Military History:
According to the SDGW database Tom enlisted at Wakefield, Yorkshire. He was working there at the outbreak of War and attempted to enlist then, but was turned down. Unfortunately, none of his Service Papers has survived. However, by comparing the enlistment dates of KOYLI Battalion members whose dates of enlistment are known, it is fairly certain his perseverance paid off and he joined the 1/5th Battalion between the 10th and 13th July 1915.  His Medal Index Card shows that he entered France to join his Battalion on the 2nd December 1915.

Tom's 1/5th Battalion had been formed in August 1914 in Doncaster, part of 3rd West Riding Brigade, West Riding Division. It moved on mobilisation to Doncaster and in November 1914 to Gainsborough, before moving again to York in February 1915. On the 12th April 1915 the Battalion landed at Boulogne from Folkestone and the Division became the 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division on the 15 May 1915, so clearly Tom was a replacement or reinforcement.

During 1916 Tom's Battalion fought in The Battle of the Somme, being in action during The Battle of Albert, (1st - 13th July); The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, (14th - 17th July); The Battle of Pozières Ridge, (23rd July - 3rd September) and The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, (15th - 22nd September).

The CWGC database shows that the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry lost 122 Officers and men killed in action or died of wounds on the 3rd May 1917, mostly from the 2/5 Battalion, who were in the 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division, fighting at The Battle of Bullecourt, (3rd - 17th May 1917), a flanking operation during The Battle of Arras.

The War Diary recorded the Battalion had moved into the trenches near Neuve Chappelle on the 5th March 1917 and whilst not taking part in the main offensive, were involved in trench routing of raids, interspersed with periods in billets, along with regular shell fire. On the first day of The Battle of Bullecourt gas shells and high explosive shells landed on 'D' Company, resulting in 30 men being gassed and 20 wounded, although Tom was the only member of the 1/5th to lose his life the 3rd May.

Tom now has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Sources:
· I am grateful to Michelle Young for the photo from the Loos memorial.
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' 12 May 1917

Link to CWGC Record
The Loos Memorial
Pt Horn's name on The Loos Memorial
poppy
Private Tom Horn