Thomas James Gregory

Date of birth: 1897
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Dorsetshire
Battalion: 5th
Rank / Service No: Private, 22116
Died: 10.00pm 27th December 1918, aged 21 years
Commemorated: Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton

 

Thomas was the only child of William James Gregory and Jane Amelia Sprackling.

 

The couple were not married when Thomas was born……they married in Southampton in 1902.

 

Jane was born in Beaminster in 1868, and she was a Cook for the Steele family in Hanover Square at the 1891 Census.

At the 1901 Census, she was living at 41 East Park Terrace in Southampton with Thomas and a “servant”.

 

Jane passed away in Southampton in 1919.

William was born in Southampton in 1878 and he died in the city in 1928.

 

 

Thomas originally enlisted in the 2/9th (Cyclist) battalion of the Hampshire Regiment, where his service number was 1773.

It is known he volunteered in October 1915, and must have made it known that he wished to fight overseas, because he transferred to the 5th Dorsetshire battalion.

 

The battalion had fought at Gallipoli, and had come away from that campaign relatively unscathed.

 

In July 1916 the Battalion went to France, joining VI Corps in the Third Army, which is where Thomas joined the battalion.

 

Although the Somme offensive had begun on 1 July, the battalion first went into the line in a quieter sector south of Arras.

 

In September the battalion moved south, to Mouquet Farm, just below Thiepval. This proved to be a bloody introduction to the Somme.

The farm was partly held by the Germans, huge numbers of whom occupied a vast dugout below it. In this action, and the attack that followed, two thirds of the 5th were killed or wounded.

 

Thomas survived this action but was taken prisoner at Beaumont-Hamel. From map co-ordinates given, it is known that he was held near the German town of Dresden.

 

After the Armistice, he was released, and was put aboard HMHS Garth Castle for the return home.

It must be assumed that Thomas was quite ill upon release, especially as he was loaded onto a hospital ship.

 

Unfortunately, he died during the voyage, hence the precise timing of his demise.

 

 

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 4th August 2016
Updated:

 

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