Private 38180 Tom Gould

Gould Thomas 96 448x600Gould Thomas 96 381x600
Photograph courtesy of John Gould.

Died of Wounds on Wednesday, 4th April 1917, age 30.
Buried in Grave C. 33. at Nesle Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.

16 Platoon, 'D' Company of 15th Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers. 96th Brigade of 32nd Division.
Formerly 33065 South Staffordshire Regiment.

Son of Thomas and Phoebe Gould; husband of Ann Morfydd Gould, of 49, Alexandra Rd., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: 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/307598/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Tom Gould registered June quarter 1887 at Dudley.

1901 Census
40 Workhouse Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Jeavons (54, Beer Retailer, born Tipton), his sister Phoebe Gould (51, born Tipton), and her two children: James (16, born Tipton), and Tom (14, born Tipton).

1911 Census
49 Alexanadra Road, Tipton, Staffs. (This was likely the same address as Workhouse Lane was renamed Alexandra Road).
Phoebe Gould (61, Brewer, born Tipton), and 2 of her 3 surviving children of 9: James (26, Brewer and Part-Time Carter, born Tipton), and Tom (24, Clerk in Stone and Slag Grinding Works, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Tom's mother, Mrs Phoebe Gould, became the licencee at the the Cottage Spring public house on the death of her brother Mr John Whitehouse Jeavons in about 1906. The Cottage Spring was known locally as the 'Monkey House' as, from about 1900 to 1920, the landlords were in the habit of keeping monkeys in order to attract custom. In the early years this was reported to be a fairly large ape with which inebriated customers occasionally picked fights with, generally to their disadvantage. In 1905 Josiah Smith had got drunk in the Black Cock in Owen Street and bragged that he could out-box the ape. Events proved him wrong, and he died about two weeks later from his wounds. Mr Jeavons was required to produce the ape at court in Wednesbury to prove it's normally amiable disposition. The judge was satisfied with the ape's conduct but insisted that it's teeth were removed to prevent any future occurrences.

After Tom's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £4/12/1d (4 pounds, 12 shillings and 1 penny), this was paid to his widow, Annie M., in September 1917. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his widow in October 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Tom had enlisted within the 12 months prior to his death.

Tom's widow, Annie, received a £3 grant on 28th April 1917. She received a Widow's Pension of 13/9d (13 shillings and 9 pence) from 15th October 1917, increasing to £1/3/4d (1 pound, 3 shillings and 4 pence) from 22nd October 1918, then to £1/8/0d (1 pound and 8 shillings) from 2nd December 1918. Her address was then given as 15 Victoria Road, Tipton.

Action resulting in his death

In March 1917, the Germans began a strategic retreat to their newly-constructed Hindenburg Line, this reduced the length of their front line and made re-supply easier. The 15th Lancashire Fusiliers (15/LF), known as the 1st Salford Pals, began a pursuit eastward in the direction of St. Quentin. On the 31st March they came to a halt 5 miles west of St. Quentin as the Germans had turned and made a stand between Holnon and Savy. The 15/LF were ordered to take Savy Wood on the next day, 1st April – April Fool’s Day. Their objective was to capture the wood and establish a strong point on the far side in the vicinity of the St Quentin-Peronne railway.

15/LF assembled at 07.30am in a valley near Pommery Chateau, about 3 miles west of Savy Wood, and at 1.00pm began their advance. They were in full view of the Germans who were on high ground south of Holnon, and advancing in a gale which lashed them with rain, sleet and snow.

Within minutes the whole Brigade came under shrapnel fire which continued as they moved towards Savy village. As they moved forward behind a creeping barrage, there were casualties from machine gun fire from the direction of Holnon Wood. Approaching Savy Wood another gun opened fire from the railway halt just beyond the gap between the two woods.

They entered the wood at 3.30pm but found it unoccupied, fallen trees and the undergrowth still made the going difficult. By 4:00pm the Battalion had fought their way round and through Savy Wood but the railway halt mentioned above was a stumbling block as German Machine Guns were posted there. From 7.00pm this was heavily shelled, and at 8.30pm the 15/LF captured the halt and 2 German Machine Guns. The advance was then consolidated along the line of the railway line running along the eastern edge of Savy Wood.

The advance by the 15/LF had been a success as its objectives were achieved, as were those of the units on both flanks. However, the 15/LF War Diary records 7 Officers and 100 Other Ranks were casualties (killed, wounded and missing). Records today show that 2 Officers and 11 Other Ranks were killed on 1st April with 9 more Other Ranks dying from their wounds in the next few days.

Tom's mother received a letter from 2/Lt S. Scholes saying that Tom had been killed on 1st April 1917, however the official records show that he died of wounds on 4th April. It is possible that Lt. Scholes was aware that Tom Gould had been wounded on the 1st April and made the assumption that he had been killed. In fact it was 3 days later, on 4th April, when Tom died from his wounds at 21 Casualty Clearing Station in Nesle where he is buried in Nesle Communal Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 25th September 1915
A marriage took place on September 15th, at Llanbeblig Church, Wales, the contracting parties being Mr Tom Gould of Alexandra Road, Tipton, and Miss M Pritchard of Caernavon. Mr Jack Gould (brother of the bridegroom) acted as best man.

Tipton Herald 14th April 1917
The deaths of two Tipton soldiers (killed in action) have this week been reported to their relatives. One is Private Thomas Gould, late Chief Clerk at Freakley's Ltd., and the other is Corporal Sid Griffiths, scrap iron merchant of Tipton Green. Both men were well known locally. A brother of the latter - Sapper Walter H Griffiths was killed at the front some time ago.

Tipton Herald 5th May 1917
On Monday evening at the Parish Church, Tipton, an attempt was made for a muffled peal of Steadman Triples to the memory of Bertam St John de Vine (son of the vicar), who fell in action on April 17th 1916, also to Thomas Gould, organist of Vicar's Sunday Afternoon Bible Class, and all others who had given their lives for their King and Country's honour, including Dr. Naylor. After two hours and ten minutes of good ringing, the peal unfortunately came to grief through a change course.

Tipton Herald 19th May 1917
Pte Thomas Gould, 15th Lancashire Fusiliers is officially reported killed in action.

Tipton Herald 26th May 1917
The many friends who knew him - and their name is legion - regretted to hear that Private Tom Gould was killed in action on April 1st. He was married, and was the youngest son of Mrs P. Gould, of Alexandra Road, Tipton, and previous to joining the Army was head clerk and cashier at the offices of Messrs. John Freakley Ltd. (Dudley Port), in whose employ he had been for about 14 years.
The wife of Private Gould received the following letter:- "I feel it to be my duty as commander of the 16th platoon of the 15th Lancashire Fusiliers, to write and express to you my sincere sympathy and also that of the other officers of 'D' Company with you in the loss of your husband, Private T. Gould, who was killed in action on April 1st. We all feel his loss very deeply, as he was one of the steadiest and best soldiers in the company, and was always bright and cheerful in the worst of circumstances. I hope it will be some consolation to you to know that he did his duty well and bravely to the last, and so died a soldier's death. Please accept my very deepest sympathy, and believe me, yours very sincerely, 2nd Lieutenant S.A. Scholes."