Private 6635 Thomas Price

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 4th December 1917, age unknown.
Commemorated on Panel 8 and 9 of Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France.

1st Bn., King's Shropshire Light Infantry. 16th Brigade of 6th Division.

Born: Toll End, Enlisted: Shrewsbury, Resident: Ketley.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1756074/

Genealogical Data

Thomas Price cannot be positively identified on the 1901 and 1911 census. Although he was married to Edith A. Price,their marriage cannot be positively identified.

Personal Data

Thomas's Medal Index Card shows his army number as SR/6635. This means that he was a Special Reservist, so had pre-war military training. He would have been eligible for immediate call-up, so it is surprising hat he was not abroad before 1916.

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £13/7/6d (13 pounds, 7 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his widow, Edith A., in May 1918. His War Gratuity was £15/0/0d (15 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Edith in January 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Thomas had enlisted in September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The noted King’s Shropshire expert, Annette Burgoyne, is convinced that the 12 men of the 1st King’s Shropshire recorded as killed on the 4th December were actually casualties on the 3rd. I am happy to accept Annette’s findings, and thank her as the following words owe much to her work.

On 3rd December 1917, the 1st Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry (1/KSLI) were located in the Front Line to the east of Marcoing, southwest of Cambrai.

At 10.30am a heavy barrage fell on the British lines covering Marcoing followed shortly by a German infantry attack. The 1/KSLI successfully drove off their attackers, significant enemy losses were observed at the KSLI wire.

The 14th Durham Light Infantry (DLI) line were located to the right of the 1/KSLI near the St. Quentin canal. The KSLI War Diary records that heavy German shelling was followed at 11.30am by a further German attack which broke the 14/DLI line. The KSLI sent two platoons from “D” Company to try and restore the 14/DLI’s line.

Soon after this the Germans entered “C” Company’s lines, where fierce hand to hand fighting took place. The situation for the KSLI had now became critical as the Germans were to the right rear in force, and the bridges over the canal had been partly destroyed.

Orders were issued to withdraw to the west bank of the St. Quentin canal to avoid being cut off, this started at 2pm. The survivors gallantly fought their way back, many officers and men had to swim the canal to get to safety. Most of those who escaped had done so by 3pm. The bridges were blown up during the early hours of the 4th December.

The 1/KSLI had rallied in the old Hindenburg Support line by 4.30am on the 4th December. The War Diary records that the 4th December was spent 1000 yards west of Marcoing in Brigade Reserve on the Premy Chapel Ridge, and that the day passed without incident.

The Battalion's casualties recorded for the 3rd and 4th December were: 1 Officer and 21 Other Ranks killed. 40 Other Ranks were missing, many of these having been taken prisoner. Thomas Price is recorded as killed in action on the 4th December, this was most likley to have been on the 3rd December. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings