Private 36040 Thomas Richard Homer

Homer Thomas 96 425x600

Died of Wounds on Thursday, 28th March 1918, age 25.
Buried in Grave III. J. 91. at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.

4th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 7th Brigade of 25th Division.

Son of Thomas and Sarah Homer, and husband of Mrs Mary A Partridge (formerly Homer).
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

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 Salem Chapel, St. Peter's, Greets Green, and Christ Church, Coseley memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/37305/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Thomas Homer registered December quarter 1892 in Dudley, making him 25 years of age when he died in March 1918.

1901 Census
15 Ballfields, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Homer (40, Ironworks Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (40, born Tipton), and their 5 children: Nellie (9, born Tipton), Thomas R. (8, born Tipton), Ernest (6, born Tipton), Florence (3, born Tipton), and Gertrude (10 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
15 Ballfields, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Homer (50, Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (50, born Tipton), and their 5 children: Nellie (19, General Labourer, born Tipton), Thomas Richard (18, Grocer's Assistant, born Tipton), Ernest (16, Errand Boy, born Tipton), Florence Dora (13, born Tipton), and Gertrude May (11, born Tipton).

Marriage of Thomas R. Homer and Ethel M. Bowater registered December quarter 1916 in Dudley. Tom and Ethel had a son, Ernest whose birth was registered in December quarter 1917.

Personal Data

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £8/3/11d (8 pounds, 3 shillings and 11 pence), this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Ethel M., in November and December 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/10/0d (3 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to Ethel in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Thomas had enlisted in March 1917.

Action resulting in his death

Thomas died of wounds on 28th March, but it is not known when he received his wound. It is likely that it would have been in the preceding few days, otherwise he would have been transferred further west towards the Base Hospitals on the French coast.

On 21st March 1918, the Germans had commenced a major offensive to attempt to break through the Allied lines and reach the French coast, before the strength of the newly-arrived United States Army made the Allied victory inevitable. In this offensive, the Germans had re-gained the majority of the territory that had been hard-won by the allies since the Battle of the Somme commencing 1st July 1916.

In late March 1918, the 4th South Staffs were in action near Bapaume on the Somme. They were attempting to halt the German offensive, but were being forced to carry out a fighting withdrawal. By 26th March, the 4th South Staffs had been forced back to the 1916 Somme battlefield, and on that date were relieved.

It is likely that this was around the time that Thomas Homer received the wounds from which he died on the 28th. He is buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, about 2 miles south west of Albert.

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