CRADDOCK, THOMAS WILLIAM

 

Photograph with kind permission from the Uttoxeter Advertiser

 

 

Source

CWGC

SDGW

Uttoxeter Advertiser

Other

Parents

 

 

 

 

 

Where born

Longton, Staffordshire

 

Yes

 

2

When born

About 1874 to about 1878

 

 

 

5

Address

Ivy Cottage, Balance Street, Uttoxeter

Yes

 

1c, 1e

2

Balance Street, Uttoxeter

 

 

1d

 

Spouse

Rose Craddock

Yes

 

 

2

Yes

 

 

1c, 1e, 1f

 

Children

No

 

 

1c

 

Employment Before Joining up

Moulder in the Leighton Ironworks

 

 

1c

 

Employee of Leighton Ironworks, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

 

 

1c

2

When enlisted

Rally at the town hall, August 1914

 

 

1c

 

Where enlisted

Stafford, Staffordshire

 

Yes

 

2

Regiment

North Staffordshire (Prince of Walesís)

Yes

 

1c, 1d

2

Unit

8th Bn

Yes

 

 

 

8th (S) Bn

 

 

 

2

6th Bn - WRONG

 

 

1c, 1d

 

Rank

Private

Yes

Yes

1c, 1d, 1e, 1f

2

Service Number

12512

Yes

Yes

 

2

Date of Death

1 July 1916

Yes

Yes

1e, 1f

2

Age at time of death

About 38

 

 

1c

 

42

Yes

 

 

 

Where Killed or died

Somme Ė 1st day (Contalmaison)

 

 

1e, 1f

 

France/Flanders

 

Yes

 

 

How he died

Killed in action

 

 

1d

 

Died of Wounds

 

Yes

 

2

Location of Grave or Memorial

Thiepval Memorial for the Missing - Pier and Face 14 B and 14 C.

Yes

 

 

4

Longton Memorial Garden, Staffordshire

 

 

 

2

Uttoxeter Town War Memorial (Market Place)

 

 

 

2, 4

War Memorial in the Catholic Church, Balance Street, Uttoxeter

 

 

 

4

Awards

 

 

 

 

 

         Before the war

Thomas worked as a moulder in the Bamfords Leighton Ironworks, Uttoxeter[1c]. He and his wife lived in Balance Street, Uttoxeter[1d].

He joined-up at a recruiting rally in the Town Hall in August 1914 and died on the first day of the battle of the Somme at Contalmaison.

         Military Service

He joined-up at a recruiting rally in the Town Hall in August 1914[1c] and marched out of town with other recruits during the first week of September 1914[1a].

We know nothing after that until he died on the first day of the battle of the Somme. News of his death was received via a letter that Sergeant-Major Wilson sent to his wife[1c].

He left a wife, but no children[1c].

News of his death was received with much regret by his co-workers at Bamfords, amongst whom he was much respected[1c].

         How he died

We know that he died of wounds on the 1st of July 1916, te First Day of the Somme, but we do not know any details.

A memorial notice placed in the Uttoxeter Advertiser by his wife [1e] said that he was killed at Contalmaison, which is puzzling because Contalmaison was behind German lines on his recorded day of death.

Phil Ealy, the Great War Forumís expert on the 8th North Staffordshire Regiment has kindly supplied details of what Thomasís battalion were doing on the day that Thomas died:

On the 1st of July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, the 790 men of the 8th North Staffordshire regiment were in reserve behind the front line at Albert. Their role was to exploit any breakthrough by the 34th Division, but the attack failed.

In the chaos of the day, the 8th North Staffordshire Regiment waited in intermediate trenches by the Albert-Bouzincourt road. Conditions were crowded, they were burdened with 69 lbs of equipment and it was hot.

At 4pm they marched through Albert and then to a reserve trench line running through the Tara and Usna Redoubts, which were fortified strong points. This was the Tara-Usna line, east and south-east of La Boiselle, and straddling the road from Albert to La Boiselle.

At 8pm they were ordered to advance to the front line and to attack La Boiselle at 10:30, led by their bomb (grenade) throwers. No guide could be found to take them into the front line until 9:30 and the trenches were crowded with the men and their wounded of the Tyneside Scottish, who had attacked the village at 7:30am. as a result, there was total chaos.

The bombers were not in place until midnight and the rest of the battalion did not arrive until 4:30am, by which time they must have been utterly exhausted. Since it was now light, the attack ws postponed and they returned to the Tara-Usna line at noon on the 2nd of July.

The War Diary lists no casulaties for the 1st of July, and, according to the Battalion History, Private Craddock died of wounds. The Battalion History doe identify accidental injuries, so it would appear likely that his wounds had resulted from German action.

Since he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial he will have been wounded on the Somme and not elsewhere. He could have received his injuries on or after the 13th of June, when they arrived on the Somme. The only time that he was close to the Germans was on the 1st of July, so he was probably wounded and died the same day. Perhaps it happened while he was waiting in the front line for the aborted attack? Unfortunately, there is no mention in any of the sources of their coming under attack, bombardment or sniping, so we can only speculate about what happened.

         Last resting place

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

 

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

He may have been buried close to the front line and the grave lost, or he may have been evacuated to a casualty clearing station and buried there, with the grave being lost when the Somme was fought over again (twice) in 1918. Unfortunately, we will probably never know.

         Commemorations

 

Tom is also commemorated on the war memorial inside the Catholic Church in Balance Street

 

These very touching notices appeared in the Uttoxeter Advertiser in July 1917. They marked the first anniversary of his death

In Loving Memory of Pte. Thomas William Craddock, who was killed at Contalmaison on July 1, 1916.

Little I thought when he said good-bye

It would be the last parting between him and I.

I loved you in life;  you are dear to me still;

But in grief I must bend to Godís holy will.

-From his Loving Wife, Ivy Cottage, Balance-Street, Uttoxeter.

 

 

 

We often think of you, dear brother,

ďTis sweet to call your name;

In life we loved you dearly,

In death we do the same.

How deep the grief only we can tell,

Who have loved and lost without saying farewell.

- From his Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers, Edensor Road, Longton.

 

   

 

The following notice was posted in the Uttoxeter Advertiser in July 1918 to mark the second anniversary:

 

CRADDOCK. Ė In Loving Memory of Pte. T. W. Craddock, killed at Contalmaison on July 1, 1916.

Gone is the one I loved so dear,

Silent the voice I loved to hear;

Too far away for sight or speech,

But not too far away for my thoughts to reach.

- From his loving Wife.