Gunner 50999 Samuel Tromans

 Tromans Samuel 96 430x600

Died of Wounds on Friday, 11th May 1917, age 27.
Buried in Grave XVIII. M. 8. at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

Royal Garrison Artillery, 36th Siege Battery.

Son of Samuel and Polly Tromans, of Tamworth, Staffs; husband of Mary E. Tromans, of 80, Ebenezer St., Hill Top, West Bromwich Staffs.
Born: Tamworth, Staffs, Enlisted: Wednesbury, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 27th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the St. Paul's, Golds Hill 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/506580/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
2 Dale Street, Toll End, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel Tromans (39, Mineral Water Carter, born Tamworth), his wife Mary Ann (34, born Tamworth), and their 6 children: Harry (15, Butcher's Assistant, born Tamworth), Samuel (13, Butcher's Assistant, born Tamworth), Florence (11, born Tamworth), Albert (9, born Tamworth), Sidney (5, born Tamworth), and Frances (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
9 Brickhouse Lane, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Boarding with George and Lizzie Plested was:
Samuel Tromans (21, Iron Worker - Rollers Assistant in Forge, born Glascote Heath, Tamworth).

Marriage of Samuel Tromans and Mary E. Harper registered September quarter 1912 in West Bromwich; the marriage was actually on 4th August. Samuel and Mary had 4 children: Samuel born 14th April 1913, Albert Edward born 12th May 1915 whilst Samuel was in training with the Royal Garrison Artillery, and twins William Henry and Mary Elizabeth born 22nd August 1917, The twins, sadly, were born 3 months after Samuel had lost his life. To make 1917 an even worse year for Mary, William - one of the twins, died on 27th September 1917, aged just 1 month.

Personal Data

Albert and Samuel Tromans were brothers, both born in Glascote Heath, Tamworth, both living Tipton. According to family legend, Samuel had told his wife not to move back in with her parents as they would use her as a skivvy - she did and they did.

Samuel enlisted at Wednesbury on 10th November 1914, reporting at Newhaven 2 days later. At enlistment, he was recorded as being 25 years and 6 months old, an Iron Worker, and living at 19 Wesley Place, Toll End, Tipton. At this stage he had 1 child, Samuel, but his wife Mary was 3 months pregnant.

At his medical examination Samuel was 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighed 144 pounds, and had a 34½-inch chest; his physical development was noted as ‘Good’. He had a horseshoe and good-luck heart tattoos on his left forearm, and a clasped hand tattoo on this right forearm. He had scabs from boils by his shoulder blade, buttocks and the back of his right knee, and a sebaceous cyst behind his right ear. Eyesight was noted as 6/10 for both left and right eyes.

On 24th December 1914 Samuel was posted to RGA No.3 Depot as a Gunner, then on 20th March 1915 to RGA Portsmouth as a Gunner, and finally posted to No. 36 Siege Battery RGA on 26th March.

Samuel embarked from Southampton on 27th September 1915, arriving in Boulogne on the next day. This was just a few days after his brother Albert had been killed on the opening day of the Battle of Loos.

On 10th November 1916, Samuel was granted his 1st Good Conduct badge, and awarded Class II Proficiency Pay of an additional 3 pence per day.

Samuel was given leave in the UK from 7th to 17th December 1916, it was a busy time and Mary gave birth to twins approximately 9 months later.

The final entry in Samuel’s records before his death was a stay in hospital from 25th to 28th February suffering from scabies, likely to have resulted from flea bites.

After Samuel's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £4/11/3d (4 pounds, 11 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his widow, Mary E., in September 1917. His War Gratuity was £11/10/0d (11 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his widow in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Samuel had enlisted in approximately November 1914. Mary received a widow's pension consisting of a £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly) as a Grant in June 1917, and a weekly pension of £1/8/9d (1 pound, 8 shillings and 9 pence) for herself and her 3 children, commencing 19th November 1917.

Action resulting in his death

The 36th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery arrived in France on 27th September 1915 as part of the larger formation, the 31st Heavy Artillery Group (HAG). Their armament consisted of 4 8-inch Howitzers, capable of firing a shell a distance of about 6 miles.

During the Battle of Arras the 31st HAG was in support of I Corps, who were to the north of the Canadian Corps at Vimy Ridge. It is likely that the 36th Siege Battery was located near Athies, as on 3rd May 4 men of that unit were killed and were buried in Athies Communal Cemetery Extension. Athies is about 6 miles south of Vimy – about the range of an 8-inch howitzer.

Samuel was wounded in action on 3rd May 1917, suffering Gun Shot Wounds (GSW) to the back. GSW is a generic term which can also include wounds from artillery fire. Given that he was serving with the Royal Garrison Artillery likely well behind the front-line, then the wounds are likely to have been from German counter-battery fire seeking to neutralise the British heavy artillery.

Samuel died some 8 days later at No. 4 General Hospital at Camiers. Camiers is on the French coast, about 2 miles north of Étaples Military Cemetery where Samuel is buried.

Newspaper Cuttings