Every Name A Story Content
WEST PELTON

Abel, T.W., Pte., 1914
In Grangegorman Military Cemetery, Cabra County, Dublin is the Commonwealth War Grave of 4565 Private Thomas Wilkinson Abel serving with the 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars who died 13/08/1914.

Thomas Wilkinson, born in 1877, was the son of James Wilkinson and Jane Abel of Darlington. Jane died in 1895. In 1901 Thomas is living with his father, at 8 Sheraton Street, Cricket Field Row, Darlington. Thomas was a bricklayer. James died in 1902.

In 1911 Thomas was a boarder with the Brown family including Elizabeth (age 27) at 23 Railway Street Craghead. Thomas was a bricklayer. Thomas and Elizabeth were married in June 1911. Their son Thomas Wilkinson Abel was born 23rd September 1914, five weeks after his fatherís death.

Chester-le-Street Chronicle 21/08/1914
"West Peltonís Reservistsí death"

"On Tuesday week Robert (sic) Abel, mason, a reservist in the Royal Horse Artillery responded to his countryís call. Two days later in riding he fell from his horse and sustained injuries which proved fatal. He was buried on Monday a memorial service being held at the same time at St Paulís Church West Pelton. Mr Abel was 35 years of age and leaves a widow and one child."

Chester-le-Street Chronicle 16/10/1914 states that he lived at 35 Queen Street, Grange Villa

According to family stories Thomas Wilkinson Abel was on peacekeeping duties in Dublin when he was shot at, making his horse to rear up and this caused him to fall.

However the Dublin Daily Express 14/08/1914 reports:-
Knocked Down by a Trap
Between 7 and 8 o'clock on Wednesday evening Private J.W. Abel, 4th Hussars was knocked down by a horse and trap in James's street. He was removed in an unconscious condition to Steevens Hospital, where he died a couple of hours later. The driver of the trap was arrested.

Police Court Proceedings:
Yesterday in the Northern Police Court before Mr Mahony, John King, 11 Seaforth Avenue, Sandymount, was charged by Sergt. Reilly with having caused the death of Private Thomas W. Abel, 4th Hussars by knocking him down with a pony and trap of which he was in charge.

Mr Lynch (Chief Crown Solicitor's Office) appeared for the Crown.

Thomas Wynne, Basin Street, Upper, deposed that on the previous evening about 7.15, at James Street, he saw the deceased, who had been sitting at the railings, get up and go to the roadway. A trap driven by the accused came up at the time and struck the deceased who was staggering and stumbling. Accused was driving at a moderate pace, and on his proper side of the road. Deceased was knocked down.

The Accused Ė Was he sober? No he was not sober. He had a lot of drink taken.

Constable 41A deposed that he arrested the accused, who made a statement that he was driving a pony and trap in James's street on his proper side. The soldier staggered in front of the trap. Witness at once pulled up but the man fell in front. Witness brought him to Steevens' Hospital. He had done everything to avoid the accident.

The accused was remanded on bail.

The Dublin Daily Express 15/08/1914 reports:-

Yesterday afternoon Dr Louis A Byrne, City Coroner, held an inquest at the Dublin Morgue on the body of Private Thomas W. Abel, of the 4th Hussars, who died on Thursday in Steevens' Hospital from injuries received the previous day by being knocked down by a pony and trap at James's street. A verdict of accidental death was returned by the jury.

The Belfast Telegraph 19/08/1914 reports:-

Yesterday in the Northern Police Courts, Dublin, before Mr Macinerney, K.C., John King of 11 Seaforth Avenue Sandymount, was charged on remand with having caused the death of Thomas W. Abel, a private in the 4th Hussars, stationed in Richmond Barracks, by running him down with a trap in James's Street on the evening of the 12th inst.

Mr Lynch (Chief Crown Solicitor's office) who appeared for the prosecution, said that this case had come before Mr Mahony on Thursday last, and on that occasion he examined three witnesses. He proposed to give some further evidence and ask his Worship to deal with the case.

The depositions of Constables 41A, 18A and Thomas Wynne were read over. The last named witness who saw the accident, in reply to the magistrate, said that defendant could not have avoided striking deceased.

A soldier named James Brunning gave evidence as to seeing deceased knocked down. He was crossing the road at the time. The man was struck by the left side of the trap. The driver of the trap was not going at a fast pace and apparently did all he could to pull up.

Dr James H. Small, Steevens' Hospital said that four of the deceased's ribs were broken. Death was due to haemorrhage and rupture of the lungs.

Joseph, ironmonger, 9 Strand Road, Sandymount, who was with the defendant in the trap at the time of the accident, said that he noticed a soldier who was very drunk, leave the footway and stagger into the trap. The rear shaft struck him and defendant did all he could to pull up but he had not the time to do so.

Mr Macinerney said that in his opinion it was an unavoidable accident and he would refuse information.

Accused was then discharged.

Elizabeth Abel married William Widdrington in 1919 and went on to have children with him. Elizabeth died at Newfield in 1956. Thomas Wilkinson Abel born 1914 lived at Pelton Fell and died in 1968.

Jean Sanders has submitted the following:

I have been looking at the story of Thomas Wilkinson Abel, West Pelton. My grandmother Elizabeth always said when she received his uniform there was a bullet hole in the pocket which could have been a stray bullet which made the horse bolt.

Thomas Wilkinson Abel is remembered at West Pelton on W112.01 as T. Abell


The CWGC entry for Private Abel

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk