Private 16053 Sherwood Foresters
12th Bn. Notts Derbys Regiment
Died of Wounds 25th August 1916 : Age unknown
Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme: III A 31
Joseph gains deserving roll of honour on Sutton Memorials. Adding fuller Huthwaite Online remembrance must be justified by exposing war memorabilia from after long safe keep by my grandma Mrs Dora Elliott. Living well beyond her 73 years homed on Blackwell Road, one photograph presented only known image of her otherwise unknown father.
Private 16053 J Thompson was apparently born in Matlock, Derbyshire. Military papers are only record of a foreshortened life after relocating to Sutton-in-Ashfield. All were addressed to 24 St Michael Street, family home of his betrothed Miss Florence Brotherhood. plus their recently born daughter named Dora.
Year 2014 saw my grandma celebrating 100 years, dating birth before war robbed remembered sight of her young father. He may have been a reluctant conscript, but Joseph served King and Country by locally joining the Sherwood Foresters. Their regiments fought valiantly among the front lines engaged in many major battles. Battalions thus suffered very heavy casualties, more so opening up July 1916's infamous Somme.
Relaying news from the Flanders fields comes Form B104-80 notifying my great grandmother that Pte 16053 J. Thompson is at 45th Casualty Clearing Station, seriously ill from "Cause not Stated". This basic War Office message sent 25th August 1916 coincidentally dated later acknowledged death.
Shortly after came Form B104-82, again relayed from Litchfield Infantry Record Office reporting the usual secretively kept cause of death was "died". Dating just a three day delay after events would suggest historic day of battle, long after truly exposing he'd been killed through mortal wounding.
Private 16054 J Thompson is buried alongside another 1225 similarly identified soldiers in the vastly extended Somme Cemetery, France. Exact plot references would be forwarded whenever possible to bereaved next of kin.
Possessing two Imperial War Graves Commission forms, they further requested updated information. One firstly offers rarely afforded opportunity to personalise an engraved gravestone at cost. A second relates upkeep of their grave registers. That information has since been published on a Commonwealth War Graves Commission website database, although its sadly obvious how many others didn't return those prepaid forms.
A young estranged unmarried mother never really learned true age or more about the Thompson family background. Keeping two unidentified photographs potentially portraying brothers leaves doubt if any closer relatives were informed of his death.
Florence was not automatically entitled to a widows allowance. Joseph however, had thoughtfully named their daughter Dora as next of kin, so a separation allowance was duly paid for her mainly under care her Brotherhood grandparents. Army Form W 3038 requested identification to continue issuing payments for another 26 weeks until 4th March 1917. In the meantime her mother found separate accommodation in Huthwaite atop Common Road through WWII, to begin inviting daughters visits.
Moving into a new Bonser Crescent extended safe keeping for all medals and letters of thanks further issued by King George. These honour by name the brave service given by Joseph Thompson, or Private 16053 of the Notts and Derbys Regiment. Above is an aptly worded parchment scroll. A letter stamped 9 June 1921 sends appreciation accompanying award for services given 1914-15. More than 6,500,000 of those personalised medals were issued to allied veterans and casualties. Families of the latter also received what became commonly termed a "Dead Man's or Widows Penny". Personalised by full name, this measures a weighty 5" or 15cm diameter.
Huthwaite remembrance will be further justified when personally inheriting all memorabilia passed down in turn from my later known great grandma Robertson. Proud keep by her daughter Dora Brotherhood-Thompson went on through marriage to Charlie Elliott leading to my grandparents address at 80 Blackwell Road. Kept since by my father Roy, remembrance will ultimately be passed onto my own grandson Leighton Elliott.