Private 1295 Thomas Henry Watters

Watters Thomas 96 450x600Watters Thomas 96 400x600
Photo courtesty of Thomas Watters, great-nephew of the late Thomas Watters.

Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916, age 25.
Buried in Grave I. H. 46. at Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, Somme, France.

1st/6th Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 143rd Brigade of 48th Division.

Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Watters, of 545, Green Lane, Small Heath, Birmingham.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 22nd March 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, 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/610100/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
1 Doris Road, Aston, Birmingham.
Thomas Watters (33, Iron Plate Worker, born Halesowen), his wife Elizabeth (30, born Tipton), and their 6 children: Thomas (10, born Tipton), Wilfred (9, born Tipton), Dora (7, born Tipton), Louie (6, born Tividale), John (5, born Tipton), Alfred (3, born Tipton), Frank (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
79 Newland Road, Small Heath, Birmingham.
Thomas Watters (43, Iron Plate Worker, born Quarry Bank), his wife Elizabeth (40, born Tipton), and their 11 surviving children of 12: Thomas Henry (20, Iron Plate Worker, born Tipton), Wilfred (19, Machinist at BSA, born Tipton), Dora Lottie (17, Switch Hand, born Tipton), Louie (16, Switch Hand, born Tipton), John (14, Errand Boy, born Tipton), Alfred (13, School, born Tipton), Frank (11, School, born Tipton), Ernest (8, School, born Birmingham), Eva (6, School, born Birmingham), Ivy (3, born Birmingham), George (1, born Birmingham).

Personal Data

After Thomas's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/14/7d (3 pounds, 14 shillings and 7 pence); this was paid to his father Thomas in June 1917. His War Gratuity was £8/10/0d (8 pounds and 10 shillings), this was paid to his father Thomas in October 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Thomas had enlisted in August 1914, and was probably already a member of the Territorial army.

Action resulting in his death

The 1/6th Royal Warwicks were part of 143rd (Warwickshire) Brigade of 48th (South Midlands) Division, this Division was to be in reserve on 1st July 1916 - the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. The 1/6th Royal Warwicks were, however, loaned to 11th Brigade, 4th Division for their attack between Serre and the Quadrilateral Redoubt, modern day Serre No 2 CWGC cemetery. 11th Brigade was to lead this sector of the attack, the first wave had the objective of the first four line of German trenches, the second wave, including the 1/6 Royal Warwicks, was to pass through and advance beyond Munich trench and secure the first German position.

The first wave took the first two lines quickly, casualties were taken from machine gun fire in the third line, but this and the fourth lines were taken. The second wave, including the 1/6th Royal Warwicks, took heavy casualties from artillery fire in No-Mans-Land and arrived too weak to advance to Munich Trench. By afternoon, most remaining troops of the 11th Brigade were concentrated around the Quadrilateral, but taking fire from all sides as Divisions on both flanks had failed to make any gains. The 11th Brigade was relieved in the late afternoon.

During this day, 148 men from the 1/6th Royal Warwicks were killed, amongst them three Tipton men. Private Thomas Watters is buried in Serre No. 2 Cemetery, and Sgt Raymond Jukes and Private Ernest Smith have no known graves and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

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