Private 158016 Thomas Chatten

 Chatten Thomas 96 419x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 18th September 1918, age 25.
Commemorated on Panel 10 of Vis-En-Artois Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 52nd Company. 17th Division.
Formerly 2651 Royal Fusiliers.

Son of Henry and Jane Chatten, of 14, Churchyard Rd., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Brierley Hill, Enlisted: Leck ??, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 7th October 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1740949/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Thomas Chatten registered March quarter 1894 in Stourbridge.

1901 Census
Court 4 House 2, Parkes Street, Brierley Hill, Staffs.
Henry Chatten (28, Boatman, born Knowle), his wife Jane (30, born Stafford), and their 5 children: Sarah Jane (9, born Birmingham), Thomas (7, born Brierley Hill), John (5, born Brierley Hill), Jane (3, born Brierley Hill), and Henry (1, born Brierley Hill).

1911 Census
23 Lockside, Tipton, Staffs.
Henry Chatten (39, Boatman - Steerer, born Warwick), his wife Jane (41, born Brierley Hill), and 6 of their 8 surviving children of 10: John (15, Boatman - Horse Driver, born Brierley Hill), Jane (12, born Brierley Hill), Henry (11, born Brierley Hill), William (9, born Brierley Hill), Joseph (7, born Brierley Hill), and Annie (1, born Brierley Hill).

Personal Data

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £7/12/2d (7 pounds, 12 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his mother, Jane, in March 1919. His War Gratuity was £18/10/0d (18 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his mother in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Thomas had enlisted in approximately September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

Thomas Chatten was initially in the 12th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, belonging to the 24th Division. In February 1918, this battalion was disbanded. It is not known when Thomas transferred from the Royal Fusiliers to the Machine Gun Corps (MGC).

Thomas is shown as belonging to the 52nd Company, MGC. In February 1918, the 3 Brigade-level MGC units for each Division were amalgamated to a single Divisional-level unit. In the 17th (Northern) Division, the 50th, 51st and 52nd Companies MGC were amalgamated to form the 17th Battalion, MGC. It is believed that this is the unit in which Thomas was serving.

Advances since the 8th August 1918 had brought the allies forward to the last true German defensive position – the Hindenburg Line. A series of large-scale offensives began on the 12th September with the Battle of Havrincourt, aiming to break that defensive line.

On the 18th September, the Battle of Epehy aimed to clear the German outpost positions in front of the Hindenburg Line. 17th Division was on the left flank of the attack, and their objective was to take to outskirts of the South end of the village of Gouzeaucourt.

The assault began at 5.20am with a creeping artillery barrage from approximately 1,500 artillery pieces, and 300 machine guns. The Germans held steady on both flanks, but in the centre the Allies, led by two Australian divisions, advanced about 3 miles. The Germans lost about 12,000 men as prisoners of war and about 1,000 guns. This modest result showed that even the Hindenburg Line was not impregnable.

Thomas Chatten was killed on this day, he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vis-En-Artois Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 23 June 1917
Tuesday afternoon a very opportune rescue from drowning in the canal occurred near Donkey Bridge. A young woman had noticed a little girl and boy passing along the canal, and then saw that the boy was missing. She elicited from the tiny girl that the boy was in the canal, and gave the alarm. She saw the hand of a child appear from beneath the surface of the water and then sink. Fortunately the alarm was heard, and a man named Charles Elliot, of 38 Lower Church Lane, jumped into the canal. After searching for a minute or two he found the child lying at the bottom of the water and brought it to the side, but it was apparently dead. P.C. Clowes, who had been attracted to the scene, tried artificial respiration for half an hour, and was eventually successful in restoring animation. The name of the little boy is Horace Chatten, aged 3 years of 14 Churchyard Rd, Church Lane.

Tipton Herald 15 September 1917
Pte T Chatten, Royal Fusiliers.