FORD, Thomas Whittaker

No.G/48120, Private, Thomas Whittaker FORD
Aged 21

2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Died of his Wounds on Wednesday, 5th June 1918

Thomas Whittaker Ford was born in Sturmer [Risbridge Q2-1897 4a:740], son of Thomas Whittaker and Eliza FORD (née RUSE ).
His middle name, like that of his father, was from William Whittaker, his grandfather

1901 census...Aged 3, he was at Challis' Cottages, Sturmer with his father Thomas Whittaker FORD [31] bricklayer's labourer, born Sturmer; his mother Eliza [33] born Kedington; sister Alice Myra [5] born Sturmer.

1911 census...Aged 13, an errand boy, he was still at Challis' Cottages, Sturmer with his parents; sisters Alice Myra and Louisa [9]; brother William [6]. The new siblings were born in Sturmer but his mother had lost one of her 5 children. He later worked at Manor Farm, Haverhill for Walter Mason.

The pension card has his mother still at Challis' Yard, Sturmer.

Thomas enlisted in Colchester.
According to the Haverill Echo 15th June 1918:-
"The sad news has reached Mr. and Mrs. Ford, of Sturmer, that their son Pte. Thomas Ford, of the Royal Fusiliers, died in hospital last week as a result of wounds received. The Infantry Records Office, London, wrote on June 6th. the the effect that the unfortunate soldier was laying seriously ill at the No.2 Clearing Station, France suffering from wounds,the nature of which were not stated. Subsequently the . following notification of death was received from the Matron of No. 2 C.C.S., France :-
"I am sorry to tell that your son, Pte T.Ford, Royal Fusiliers, who was admitted to hospital yesterday, suffering from shell wounds on both legs and arm, died this morning (June 5th) at four o'clock. I can assure you that everything that was possible was done to try and save him, but he did not rally from shock and passed peacefully away in his sleep.
I told him I would write to you and he sent his love, but he was too ill to send any other message. He will be laid to rest in Ebblinghem British Military Cemetery and there will be a cross with his name and regiment to mark his resting place. Any personal belongings he may have will be sent to you from headquarters, but they would usually take several weeks to reach the relative. With sincerest sympathy."

Pte. Ford, who was only 21 years of age, enlisted on January 19th last year and had been wounded twice previously. When he left for the Front on the last occasion he carried with him a piece of shrapnel in his chest. Before joining up he was in the employ of Mr. W. Mason of Manor Farm, Haverhill. He was well liked by all who knew him, and the greatest sympathy is extended to his relatives.

The 2nd Royal Fusiliers had been part of the Battle of the Lys and capturing Mont de Merris on June 3rd. The War diary states that the objective on 3rd June was an attack on LUG FARM and the 3 surrounding enclosures, zero hour, 1 am . An excellent artillery barrage was put down at zero in front of the objective and crept forward by 50 yards each minute to 100 yards the enemy side of the objective. It then lifted 200 yards on the S.O.S. lines.
The battalion reached its objective at zero plus ten minutes, and carrying parties were quick to go forward with more ammunition, bombs and supplies and the position was consolidated. They took as prisoners 3 NCOs and 15 privates for the cost of 8 men wounded.

photo: Rodney Gibson

Thomas Ford is buried in Ebblinghem Military Cemetery, grave 1:F:39
also commemorated on the Sturmer memorial

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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