Private 45983 Thomas Gazey

Gazey Thomas 96 400x600
Photograph courtesy of Thomas's great-nephew Robert Walker

Thomas Gazey was not killed during the war.

4th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 88th Brigade of 29th Division.

Born: Rowley, Enlisted: Oldbury, Resident: Dudley.

First landed France & Flanders, 12th June 1917.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

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

Genealogical Data

Birth of John Thomas Gazey registered June quarter 1896 in Dudley.

1901 Census
2 Dudley Road, Rowley, Staffs.
John Gazey (60, Quaryyman, born Saintsbury, Glos), his wife Mary A. (48, born Dudley), and their 5 children: Patience (19, born Dudley), Harriet (16, born Rowley), Jane (11, born Rowley), Edith (7, born Rowley), and Thomas (5, born Rowley).

1911 Census
30 Cawney Hill, Dudley, Worcs.
Mary Ann Gazey (59, Widow, Charwoman, born Dudley), and 3 of her 5 surviving children of 8: James (20, Grinder, born Rowley), Edith (17, born Rowley), and Thomas (15, Labourer, born Rowley).

Death of John T. Gazey, age 36, registered March quarter 1933 in Dudley.

Personal Data

The name Thomas Gazey appears on the Mission Church Memorial, now in Tipton Library. There were 8 men named Gazey killed during World War 1, none named Thomas and the closest being from Birmingham.

John Thomas Gazey was a Dudley man and joined the Worcesters in 1917. He survived the war and joined the British Army of Occupation of the Rhine in 1919, and was not de-mobilised until March 1920. It is my hypothesis that the Thomas Gazey commemorated on the Mission Church Memorial is this man, and that either he or his mother were members of the Mission Church. As Thomas had not re-appeared at the Mission Church by 1920, the reasonable assumption was that he had been killed. When the Memorial was being arranged, his name was put forward for inclusion. It must have been something of a surprise when he did return in March 1920.

John Thomas Gazey attested on 11th December 1915 at Oldbury under the Derby Scheme, and was posted to the Reserves. He was called up for service on 27th February 1917, and joined the 6th Worcesters. At the time attestation he was 19 years and 8 months old, his next of kin was his mother Mary Ann Gazey, and his address was 30 Cawney Hill, Dudley. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall with a 33½-inch chest, and employed as an Edge Tool Grinder.

John arrived in France on 12th June 1917, and 2 days later was posted to the 14th Worcesters who were the Pioneer battalion to the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. The 63rd Division were in action during the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), but on 5th January 1918 John was transferred to the 4th Worcesters in 29th Division.

John appears to have served with the 88th Trench Mortar Battery in the same Brigade as the 4th Worcesters. They were heavily involved in the Battle of the Lys in April 1918, and as it ended in late April they were in trenches east of Hazebrouck. In this area on 3rd May, John was wounded in action suffering from gas inhalation, no record exists of his medical treatment. The 29th Division were heavily involved in the '100 Days' from August to November 1918 as the Germans were forced to retreat across Flanders, and were in Belgium when the armistice was signed.

After the armistice, the 29th Division was selected to move into Germany, and arrived near Cologne in December 1918. By March 1919, demobilisation was progressing, but John decided that he wished to join the British Army of the Rhine. On 11th March 1919, John was accepted for the Army of Occupation when he was in Wermelskirchen, 20 miles from Cologne. This was extended in November 1919, and he was finally demobilised 12th March 1920 as Private 44569 in the 52nd Battalion, Royal Warwicks, when his 'military character' was described as 'very good'.

John did not have a long life, and his death was registered in Dudley in March quarter 1933, when he was just 36 years of age.

Action resulting in his death

Thomas Gazey was not killed.

Newspaper Cuttings