Private 16053 - 12th Bn. Sherwood Foresters
Notts Derby Regiment
Died of Wounds 25th August 1916 : Age unknown
Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme: III A 31
Joseph deserves justified roll of honour on a Sutton Memorial. But his remembrance and memorabilia is worthy of Huthwaite exposure after long safe keeping by our Elliott family. Photograph and war history closely kept by my grandma Mrs Dora Elliott, goes beyond 73 years living on Blackwell Road, because these reveal her unknown father.
We knew little about Private Joseph Thompson, except keeping original proof covering his fate. All were sent to his named betrothed, a Miss Florence Brotherhood. Firstly addressed still at her families home on St Michael Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, is where their unexpected daughter was named Dora. Year 2014 saw my grandma celebrating 100 years. Born a few years before war robbed chance of ever sighting her father.
Future parental responsibility led young Joseph to sign up for King and Country by joining the Foresters. Their regiment long served valiantly on the front line engaged in most major battles. Battalions thus suffered 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 death.
Soon after came Form B104-82, again relayed by Litchfield Infantry Record Office reporting the secretive cause of death was "died". Dated just three days after events, short delay could now suggest 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. We hold two Imperial War Graves Commission forms that also requested updated information. One relates to upkeeping their grave registers, plus a second offering chance to personalise an engraved gravestone at cost. That information is since published on a Commonwealth War Graves Commission website database, although search results make it obvious how many others didn't return these addressed prepaid forms.
In our case it left a young and enstranged unmarried mother still looking for a permanent address. She never claimed true age or family background for her dead soldier except for two unidentified photographs potentially portraying his brothers. In fact we only learned from War Office records that Joseph Thompson was actually born in Matlock. This leaves doubt if parents or brothers were informed of his death, or if he's missed off another home memorial listing.
Because they never married, Florence was not automatically entitled to a widows allowance. But Joseph had named their daughter Dora as next of kin. So the separation allowance was duly paid to her, mainly under care of her Brotherhood grandparents. Amount and full term are not stated on this Army Form W 3038, which requested identification to continue issuing payments for another 26 weeks until 4th March 1917. In the meantime her mother eventually found accommodation bringing herself to Huthwaite. An old terrace standing atop Common Road offered home through WWII before inviting daughters visits.
Moving into a newer built 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 apty 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 Death Plaque proves weighty, measuring about 5" or 15cm diameter.
Huthwaite remembrance is further justified when all this memorabilia passed from my later known and renamed great grandma Robertson, into proud ownership by his daughter Dora. Marriage to Charlie Elliott leads to my grandparents address at 80 Blackwell Road. Kept since by my father Roy, I look forward to next possessing, then passing remembrance over onto my own grandson.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Simplest listing by name and rank explained above.
Correctly listed upon St Michaels memorial Sutton-in-Ashfield, the street of my grandmothers birth.
Soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 - 1918 THOMPSON Joseph, born Matlock, Derbys. Enlisted Sutton-in-Ashfield. 12th Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regt.). Private 16053, Died of wounds, France & Flanders 25th August 1916.
Written 08 Feb 14 Revised 14 Feb 14 © by Gary Elliott