Private 17295 Thomas Addison

Addison Thomas 96 401x600

Killed in Action on Friday, 10th December 1915, age 26.
Buried in Grave I. C. 24. at Rue-David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, Pas De Calais, France.

6th Bn., Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. 60th Brigade of 20th Division.

Son of Thomas and Annie Addison, of Greets Green, West Bromwich; husband of Bertha Merrin (formerly Addison), of 30, Oxford St., Spondon, Derby.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Sponden, Derby.

First landed France & Flanders, 2nd September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Peter's, Greets Green Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/291502/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Thomas Addison registered June quarter 1889 at Dudley.

1891 Census
27a Walker Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Addison (24, Iron Worker, born Tipton), his wife Ann (24, born Tipton), and their son Thomas (2, born Tipton).

1901 & 1911 Census
Cannot find Thomas or his parents.

Wedding of Thomas Addison and Bertha Vipond registered September quarter 1912 at West Bromwich. A son, Thomas, was born on 5th August 1915, his birth was registered in West Bromwich.

Personal Data

Thomas attested for the 11th Kings Royal Rifle Corps on 3rd September 1914 when he was 25 years of age and a Sheet Metal Worker. He was 5 feet 4¼ inches tall, weighed 112 pounds and had a 33½-inch chest, fresh complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. Significantly he had a hammer toe on his right foot. He was married to Bertha and living at 51 Whitehall Road, West Bromwich. On 4th September, he was with the Depot Battalion at Winchester, and on the 9th September allocated to the 11th Battalion.

Just 3 weeks later, on the 1st October 1914, he was discharged as medically unfit due to "callosities of feet which interfere seriously with duty" - the hammer toe mentioned on attestation. This rejection did not deter Thomas for joined the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, the papers for this period of his service did not survive.

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/10/0d (1 pound and 10 shillings); this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Bertha, in February 1916. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Bertha in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Thomas had enlisted in the previous 12 months.

Thomas's widow, Bertha, was awarded a pension of 15/0d (15 shillings) per week for herself and infant son from 26th June 1916; this was increased to 18/9d (18 shillings and 9 pence) from 4th April 1917. Her address at this time was 24 Abingdon Street, Derby.

Bertha married Edward Merrin on 9th April 1917, her pension would then have ceased but the pension in respect of her son, Thomas, would have continued until his 16th birthday. In place of her widow’s pension, she received a marriage gratuity of £35/14/10d (35 pounds, 14 shillings and 10 pence). The sum of £31/17/4d (31 pounds, 17 shillings and 4 pence) was paid to Bertha on 31st May 1917, the balance of £3/17/6d was invested in War Savings Certificates.

Action resulting in his death

From July 1915 when the 6th Battalion Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (6/OBLI) had arrived in France, they had been in French Flanders, generally in the Fleurbaix area. Thomas joined the 6/OBLI in September 1915, as one of the replacement drafts.

In December 1915 6/OBLI was alternating with the 6th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry between the front line and reserve positions. The front-line trench position was about 1 mile south-east of Fleurbaix, centred on a location named La Boutillerie. The weather was bad with most trenches knee-deep in water.

On the 9th December, 6/OBLI again took over the front-line trench after having been in billets in Fleurbaix for 4 days, during which time Fleurbaix had been shelled by the enemy.

The War Diary for 10th December says: “In the trenches. Casualties: 1 man accidentally killed”. Only 1 man of the 6/OBLI was killed on that day, Thomas Addison. Further detail was added to Thomas's Pension Card which says “accidentally killed by discharge of a machine gun”.

Thomas was buried at Rue-David Military Cemetery, just 800 yards behind the front-line position, on the road towards Fleurbaix.

Newspaper Cuttings