Polly Chance

Military Monday – Thomas Darby (1879-1945)

Thomas Darby is my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are David Darby and Charlotte Farmer. Thomas and my wife’s common ancestors are Thomas Darby and Sarah Miles – my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

Thomas enlisted at the age of 35 years 11 months on 20 May 1915 in Worcester and his military service number was 30389. His occupation at the time was blacksmith.

Thomas listed his next of kin as his daughter Evelyn. His wife Polly (Chance) had died in 1914 at the age of 35.

Thomas embarked from Southampton on 3 October 1915 and disembarked the next day. He was posted to his battalion in the 6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 6 October 1915.

It seems that Thomas managed to remain unscathed until the following summer. He was then injured in action on 19 July 1916 when he received gun shot wounds to his head and arm. He was admitted to the field hospital for treatment.

The next day he was injured again with gun shot wounds to his shoulder and thigh.

Three days later on 23 July 1916 Thomas was discharged to the Base Depot.

After a couple of weeks it appears he was well enough to be attached to the 14th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was back in action on 7 August 1916.

Over the next two years Thomas spent his time either on leave or in the battle field and does not seem to have suffered any further physical injuries.

He was demobilised on 6 February 1919.

Thomas was transferred to the Class Z Reserve on 7 Mar 1919.

Class Z Reserve was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918.  There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities.  Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve “for the duration”, were at first posted to Class Z.  They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon.  The Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920.