Lance Corporal 242701, 1st/4th Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Died of Wounds 27 October 1918 aged 25

Buried Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas de Calais, France

Husband of Annie Lindsay

Lived 40, High Street, Heckmondwike

Thomas was born in 1893, the younger son of Fred Lindsay, a 25 year old Blanket Warehouseman and Frances Ann Lindsay aged 24.  They had one other child, Arnold, born in 1890.  Fred Lindsay died in 1900 and in 1901 the remaining family were at 40, High Street Heckmondwike, part of a household which included Frances Ann’s widowed mother and her three sons.  By 1911 Thomas was a 17 year old Boot Worker, an occupation in which he continued until he joined the Army on 4 February 1916.

Shortly after enlisting, Thomas married 21 year old Annie Smith of 43 Westgate, Heckmondwike.  After training in West Hartlepool, Thomas went to France on 1 June 1916.  The 1/4th Battalion had been in France since April 1915 and amongst its officers were A L and J G Mowat, members of a prominent local Cleckheaton family.  In June the Battalion received 310 new drafts and the timing suggests that it is highly likely that Private Lindsay was one of that number.  The soldiers were soon in action during the Somme offensive of 1916 and Private Lindsay was one of 13 soldiers of the 1st/4th wounded on 7 July 1916 in an attack on the edge of Thiepval Wood.  After further action on the Somme the Battalion moved Northwards in the direction of the Ypres Salient.

At home, Annie gave birth to a son Frederick on 23 December 1916.

In 1917 the Battalion was in action around the Ypres area and the local paper later reported that Private Lindsay had been wounded again in September 1917.  The military records show that Private Lindsay spent some time with the 1st/5th Battalion but the dates are uncertain.  By December 1917 the Battalion was holding the front line astride a railway line to the North-East of Ypres.  The appalling conditions experienced by the soldiers in the Ypres Salient in 1917 have been well documented and the Battalion war diary noted that the "approach to the front line was very difficult over heavily shelled muddy ground" and that "no-man’s-land was reported by patrols to be almost impassable".  Pte Lindsay of D Company was one of two soldiers from the Battalion wounded on 9 December 1917.

By the Autumn of 1918 the Battalion was near Arras North of the Somme area.  In October the soldiers were in billets "practically no better than the Front Line".  On the night of 17/18 October the Battalion was in the forward trenches and was "heavily shelled with Yellow Cross [mustard] gas".  The following morning an "enemy patrol approached a post held by D Company but was easily driven off".  The Battalion was out of the line by 21.00 but "D Company was shelled on the way out and suffered several casualties".  Records kept by the Battalion show that on 18 October one soldier was killed; four were wounded by artillery; and five were wounded by gas - one of whom was Private Lindsay.  The Battalion’s total casualties in this last complete month of the war were 444 out of a total strength of about 750.

Thomas was taken to 55 General Hospital at Wimereux near Boulogne, but died on 27 October.  He is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas de Calais, France.  The local paper reported in detail the kind and considerate letters sent to Mrs Lindsay from the hospital by the Rev J W McMullen and an un-named matron.

The outstanding pay and war gratuity owing to Thomas Lindsay’s family was £26 16s 4d.  Matters were made more complex because Thomas left no traceable will.  This would have caused some delays whilst the York Pay Office followed the normal procedures and Mrs Lindsay was sent one third of that sum on 1 March 1919.  The balance of £17 17s 6d was sent on 8 April 1919 to Mrs Lindsay’s two year old Frederick.  On 26 December 1919 Mrs Lindsay married Arthur Blakeborough.  At that point her military widow’s pension, likely to be 15s a week would cease, the 5s a week for her son Frederick would continue.  Mr Blakeborough died in 1924.  Thomas‘s brother Arnold served in the war and survived; both he and Arthur Blakeborough are listed on the Heckmondwike Roll of Honour.  Thomas’s uncle John Willie Priestley, the brother of Thomas’s mother Frances, was killed in action on 7 September 1918 whilst serving with the Machine Gun Corps.

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