Private Thomas Henry TIDESWELL


Regiment/Service:
North Staffordshire Regiment
(Prince of Wales')
[Formerly: Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)]
Unit:
1st/5th Battalion
Service Number:
42979
[Formerly: 106929 Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)]
Date of Death:
17 April 1918 - Killed in Action
Age:
18
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Panel 8.

Personal History:
Thomas (known later as "Harry") was born at Harpur Hill, Buxton, in May 1899, the son of William (General Labourer) and Margaret (née Drabble) Tideswell. He had an older brother, John F., and an older sister, Gladys (1901 Census RG 13/3271).
Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/21238) William had become a Farmer, owning Tunnel Farm, Burbage, Buxton. Thomas was the only child of the family still living at home. [The 1911 Census also shows that Thomas had two more older siblings, but this cannot be verified from Census data.] When Thomas enlisted in 1917 he gave the family address as "Plex Farm, Burbage", although his father was living at "3 South Street, Buxton". At that time he stood 5 ft. 5½ ins. (1.66 m.) tall and was employed in "Farming". He weighed 8 st. 3 lbs (52.2 kgs.) After the War the CWG records show that his family had moved again (retired?) to New Colshaw, Earl Sterndale, Buxton.

Military History:
According to his Service papers, Thomas (Harry) enlisted at Bakewell on the 14th April 1917,
initially into the Sherwood Foresters Regiment. He was mobilised on the 9th June 1917 and
posted to the 1st Training Battalion three days later. On the 12th August he was posted again
to the 14th Battalion, later known as the 53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion.(Up to the 27th October
1917, this was known as 13th Young Soldier Battalion and had no regimental affiliation.
Before that it had been 14th (Reserve) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters.)

Harry was photographed for 'The Buxton Advertiser', whilst in training with the 6th Battalion, under
the heading "Buxton Patriots in Training". He is in the middle of the back row, with Privates Pickford
(left) and Askey. In front are Privates Fanshaw and Wilson.

According to 'The Buxton Advertiser' Harry was posted to France on the 31st March 1918 and, on
the 5th April transferred to the North Staffordshire Regiment, and was posted to the 5th Battalion.
Just 12 days later he was killed in action "In The Field, Belgium".

The 1/5th Battalion had been in France since landing at Le Havre on the 4th March 1915. On the 30th January 1918, just before Harry joined his new Battalion, it had transferred to the176th Brigade in the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division and at the same time absorbed the 2/5th Battalion.

During the Battles of the Lys, Harry's Division was ordered to reinforce the Lys area that was under terrific enemy attack. A 6000 yard (c.  5500 m.) long line (that is, very thinly held) was taken over near Loker and here in the middle of the 14th April, the units came under violent attack. The enemy broke through on the left and the British line crumbled. Bailleul fell and the 176th and 178th Brigades fell back in disarray on Mont Noir (Zwarteberg). Losses were very heavy.

This Battle of Bailleul was followed immediately by The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge (17th -18th April 1918). It was during this engagement that Harry lost his life, one of 24 men of his Battalion killed in action during these two days. All but one have no known grave and are commemorated with Harry on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

In reporting Harry's death, on the 25th May 1918, 'The Buxton Advertiser' wrote:

"News has been received by the friends of Pte. T.H. Tideswell, to the effect that he has been killed in action.
Full details are not yet to hand, but we learn that Pte. Tideswell fell on the 17th April. He joined up on the 9th
of June 1917 [this was the date he was mobilised], with the Sherwood Foresters, and was later transferred
to the North Staffs, with which Regiment he went into action. Our friend proceeded to France last Easter
Monday, prior to which his relatives paid him a visit at Redmires Camp.
Pte. Tideswell was only 18 years of age."

[N.B. Easter Monday 1918 was the 31st March.]


Sources:
· "The Buxton Advertiser" - 10 October 1917, 11 & 25 May 1918
· I am grateful to Chris Pratt for the photo of Harry's name on the Memorial
                                                                                    

Commemorated on:
Harry is also commemorated on his parent's grave in Harpur Hill Churchyard
Link to CWGC Record
Pt Tideswell's name on The Ploegsteert Memorial
The Ploegsteert Memorial
poppy
Pt. Harry Tideswell
Territorials in training
C L I C K on Picture above to see the full cutting