Lance Corporal Thomas Henry Heath (15106)

4th Bn, The Grenadier Guards, 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division, B.E.F.

Malvern Commemoration: Holy Trinity North Malvern,

Burial/Commemoration: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

Nature of Death: Killed in action Flanders 2/8/1917

Age: 26

Next of Kin: Son of the Emily Norbury (nee Heath) of 2 Victoria Cottages, Cowleigh Road, North Malvern and the late Samuel Heath; husband of Lillian E Heath of 193 Bexhill Road, St Leonards, Sussex

Previous Employment: Pre-war regular guardsman

Capbadge of the Grenadier Guards

Early years

Thomas Heath was born in Crewe in December 1890, the son of Samuel Heath, a labourer at the Crewe railway engine fitting shop and his wife Elizabeth.  He was born at 25 Sandbach Street, Monks Coppenhall, Crewe.  Ten years later the family were living at 11 Duke Street in Crewe.  However a year later tragedy would strike the family.

A family tragedy

Samuel, described by the Liverpool Weekly Courier, as a Crewe workman, was suffered a head injury at Carlisle and was later moved home to Duke Street.  As was reported:

“Heath developed erysipelas and was admitted to the isolation ward at the railway company’s hospital.  On the night of his admission into hospital he became suddenly mad, and bolted out of the ward in his bare feet during the temporary absence of the nurse.”

He dropped from a wall 16 feet high into Mill Street and ran through the street, resisting recapture by a nurse who pursued him.  As the Bolton Evening News reported: “The poor fellow could not be induced to return to hospital, but he was persuaded to go home.  He died on Sunday [26th January].”

The LNWR Railway Hospital at Crewe

The hospital wing of the LNWR Railway Works at Crewe, 1913. (National Railway Museum)

The Malvern connection

In 1903, the widowed Emily Heath married Frederick Charles Norbury in Crewe.  He was a labourer engaged by the L&NWR in the same year.  In 1906, their daughter Beatrice was born while they were living in Harlington in Cheshire.  In that same year, Frederick stopped working for the railway company and by 1909, when their son Charles was born, they were living in Malvern.  On the 1911 Census, Frederick was shown as a quarryman at the North Malvern Quarries and the family were living at 2 Victoria Cottages, Cowleigh Road.

Guardsman Heath

Thomas Heath’s home address will have been his mother’s house in Malvern, however it appears that he may have worked in the South Wales coalfields before enlisting in the Grenadier Guards at Newport in 1911.

By April 1911 he was training at the Guards Depot, Caterham.  In March 1914, he was serving with the 3rd Grenadier Guards, stationed at Wellington Barracks, London.  In mid March when he was admitted to hospital.

First World War

Thomas did not go overseas straightaway.  While still stationed at Wellington Barracks, Pte Heath married Lillian Elizabeth Duck at All Saints’ Church, Battersea on 15th June 1915.  At the time she lived at 1 Russell Street, Battersea.

Thomas landed in France on 8th September 1915 and was posted to the 4th Battalion.  Thomas and Lilian’s daughter Lilian Ethel was born on 10th February 1916.

On 2nd August 1917, Thomas will killed in action.  His body was never recovered and today he is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial.

British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers' Medical Records
Medal Index Card
Liverpool Weekly Courier 1/2/1902
Bolton Evening News 29/1/1902
Railway Employment Records, 1833-1956: LNWR Miscellaneous Trades
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census

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