Military Monday – Thomas Baldwin (1888-1917)

Military Monday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

We all have ancestors who have served in the military. Military Monday is a place to post their images, stories and records of their service in various branches of the military.

Thomas Baldwin is my 1st cousin 2x removed. He was born sometime in the September quarter of 1888 in Eastburn, near Keighley to parents Francis Baldwin and Ellen Dawson. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ellen Gawthrop, my 2x great grandparents.

Thomas is a cousin of my grandfather, Joseph Dawson and also of Prince Dawson who died in WW1 on 21 December 1915.

In the 1901 census at the age of 12 Thomas was working as a spinner at a local worsted mill. Ten years later the 1911 census describes his occupation as a warp dresser.

Unfortunately there are no surviving military records for Thomas on either Ancestry or Find My Past so I can’t find out very much information about his service.

I know that he served in the 2nd Battalion / 4th Division of Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding Regiment) holding the rank of Private and his service number was 267218.

Thomas died of wounds on 4 May 1917 while serving in France & Flanders. It is highly likely that he was wounded during the Battle of Arras.  According to information on the excellent website Craven’s Part in The Great War news of his death wasn’t given to his mother until August 1917.

From the same source it seems that Thomas was a prominent player in the Eastburn Cricket Club’s first eleven.

Thomas is buried in Douai Communal Cemetery in France.

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The following information is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Douai was occupied by French troops and the Royal Naval Air Service on the 22nd September, 1914, and captured by the Germans on the 1st October; it remained in enemy hands until the 17th October, 1918. The 42nd Casualty Clearing Station was posted in the town from the 28th October, 1918, to the 25th November, 1919.

Douai Communal Cemetery was used during the occupation years of 1914-18 by the Germans for prisoners of war and British, French, Russian, Rumanian and Italian soldiers, as well as German soldiers were buried in it.

During the 1939-45 War Douai was in British hands until the German break through in May, 1940. The 1st Corps Headquarters were at Cuincy, on the western edge of the town, from October, 1939 onwards and Douai was one of the towns from which the Allied advance into Belgium was launched early in May, 1940, only to be followed by the collapse of the French and Belgian units and the consequent withdrawal of the British element towards Dunkirk.

There are now 222 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war commemorated in this site, 19 being unidentified. There are a further 46 Commonwealth burials of the 1939-1945 war here. There are also 247 French, 113 Russsian and 13 Romanian burials of the 1914-1918 war here.

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