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Ward, T., Capt., 1916

Illustrated War Weekly 1916

Shetlands Roll of Honour page 133

In Becourt Military Cemetery, Becordel Becourt is the Commonwealth War Grave of Lieutenant Thomas Ward serving with the 21st (2nd Tyneside Scottish) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers who died 11/06/1916.

Thomas was born in the Shetland Islands on the 23rd June 1889, the son of a Master Mariner Thomas, and Bessie Ward (nee Elizabeth Inkster).

The family moved to South Shields in 1890, and resided at 13 Robinson Street. Thomas Jnr attended the South Shields High School from the 16th September 1901 to December 19th 1904. He was the eldest of the 5 children with 2 younger brothers and 2 sisters.

By 1901 they had moved to 66 Eglesfield Road, and had moved again to 23 Rosebery Avenue by 1911.

On leaving school Thomas trained to be a teacher, and was educated at the Armstrong College in Newcastle where he obtained his B.Sc., When he qualified he was offered a post with the South Shields Education Committee for 106 per annum and taught at Westoe Secondary School.

He enlisted with the Northumberland Fusiliers and was allocated originally to the 29th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, Thomas then was promoted a temporary Lieutenant on the 6th January 1915, then allocated to the 23rd Battalion on the 3rd September 1915, he was only promoted temporary Captain from the 6th March to the 16th May 1916, because he was the Brigade Signalling Officer, he was killed before his captaincy became permanent. So his rank should be Lieutenant.

His Medal Card shows his rank as a Captain.

Newcastle Journal Monday 22/02/1915.

Gazette awards.
"Northumberland Fusiliers, 23rd Battalion (4th Tyneside Scottish).- Temporary Captain Stanley H. Macintosh to be adjutant, dated Dec, 21, 1914. The undermentioned to be temporary Lieutenants: Hector Fraser Whitehead, dated Dec, 22, 1914. Thomas Ward, dated Jan, 6, 1915."

Official records show that he died as a Lieutenant, but the school's record shows that he was a Captain.

He was killed 11th June 1916 at Albert, in the Somme, by a rifle grenade.

The Newcastle Journal Tuesday, 27/06/1916, carried a report about him:

"South Shields schoolmasters are doing their part in the war, and some of them have made the supreme sacrifice. The latest to lose his life is Captain Thomas Ward, B.Sc., of the Tyneside Scottish, a former student of Armstrong College, and a teacher of several years' standing on the Shields schools, where he first began his educational wok. Captain Ward is the fourth Shields schoolmaster who has been killed at the front, while three are missing, two are prisoners, and five wounded."

South Shields Council Minutes for Jan to June 1916, Vol 41 records:-
The Late Captain Ward.
"The Chairman referred to the South Shields Teachers on active service and to the following casualties from amongst their number- 4 Killed, 2 Prisoners of War, and 5 Wounded."

10. Resolved- "That the Town Clerk be instructed to forward a letter of sympathy in the name of this Committee to the wife of Capt. Thomas Ward, B.Sc., a Master of the High School who was killed on active service whilst serving in the Tyneside Scottish on the 11th June, 1916."

The Newcastle Daily Chronicle 27/6/1916 reports:

"Capt. T. Ward, of South Shields, killed.
It has been officially announced that Capt. Thomas Ward, of South Shields, who was serving at the front with the Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action on June 11.

Captain Ward, who was 27 years of age, was the son of Captain and Mrs. T. Ward, Rosebery Avenue, South Shields. He was educated at Armstrong College, Newcastle, where he took his B.Sc. degree, and, prior to the outbreak of the war, he was one of the masters at the South Shields High School. He volunteered for active service shortly after the declaration of war, and, having been a member of the O.T.C. , he gained his commission as full lieutenant. He was afterwards promoted to the rank of captain, and for some time he acted as brigade-signalling officer. He had only been a month at the front when he was killed by a hand grenade. Captain Ward was married about 12 months ago."

He is remembered at Harton on H104.03 and H106.06, at South Shields on S86.027, S86.049 and S86.086, page 16, in Durham on D47.151, page 104, in Newcastle on NUT063, and on Teachers who Served and Teachers who Fell

He is also remembered in Shetland Roll of Honour

Shetlanders on the Western Front
South Shields Grammar School
The CWGC entry for Lieutenant Ward

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