Lance Corporal 20145 Thomas Gulliver

Killed in Action on Thursday, 4th October 1917, age 20.
Commemorated on Panel 90 to 92 and 162 to 162A of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, 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/837858/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Thomas Gulliver registered June quarter 1897 at Dudley.

1901 Census
54 Park Lane Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
William Gulliver (37, Coal Worker above ground, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (26, born Tipton), and their 4 children: George (7, born Tipton), William (6, born Tipton), Thomas (3, born Tipton), and David (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
54 Union Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Gulliver (46, Canal Boat Unloader, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (36, born Henley in Arden), and their 8 surviving children of 9: George (17, Labourer at Iron Foundry, born Tipton), William (16, Labourer at Iron Foundry, born Tipton), Thomas (13, Labourer at Coal Dealer's, born Tipton), David (11, School, born Tipton), Sarah Jane (8, School, born Tipton), Emmie (6, School, born Tipton), Joseph (4, School, born Tipton), and Mary Ann (2, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £0/6/10d (6 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his father, William, in March 1918. His War Gratuity was £9/0/0d (9 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Thomas had enlisted in September 1915.

Action resulting in his death

4th October was the Battle of Broodseinde, the third of Plumer's 'limited objective' offensives aiming to complete the capture the Gheluvelt Plateau and the occupation the Broodseide Ridge. The 1st South Staffs Regiment was east of Polygon Wood, which itself was east of Ypres, Belgium. They were to mount an attack whose objective was a level stretch of countryside consisting mostly of shellholes and pillboxes. The importance of gaining this ground was that it would protect the right flank of the Australians who were to attack the 'Broodseinde' position.

The attack commenced at 6am and progressed steadily according to the timetable; the right flank of the attack came under considerable machine gun fire and suffered many casualties. The South Staffs War Diary records that "a large number of Germans were shot and bayonetted; none of the pillboxes encountered gave much trouble." The Battalion advanced 900 yards over a frontage of 450 yards capturing 'Jolting House Trench'. An estimated 150 Germans were killed and 80-100 prisoners were taken.

During the 5th October, sniper fire from Judge Copse and machine gun fire from the area of Polderhoek caused considerable casualties. Heavy shelling commenced later in the day throughout the South Staffs area, and continued overnight. The 1st South Staffs were relieved on the night 6th/7th October.

During the action, the 1st South Staffords had 3 officers and 59 Other Ranks killed, over 200 men were wounded. This included 4 Tipton men who were killed: Private Thomas Gulliver and Lance Corporal Paul Griffiths on the 4th October, Lance Corporal George Cook on the 5th October, and Private Abraham Nicklin on the 6th October. None of the 4 men has a known grave, all are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

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