No.18169, Private, Thomas WIMPRESS
Aged 37

7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday, 3rd July 1916

Thomas Wimpress was born in Hamerton, Huntingdonshire (Huntingdon Q2-1879 3B:283), son of Benjamin and Emma WIMPRESS (née BRUCE).

1881 census...Aged 2, he was at Hardwick, Buckden, Hunts with his grandfather Thomas BRUCE [65] farm labourer; grandmother Sarah BRUCE [64] and his mother Emma WIMPRESS [23]. Al except Thomas were born in Buckden. His father was alone in Ellington, Hunts

1891 census...Aged 12, farm labourer, he was at Luddington Village, near Oundle, Northants with his father Benjamin WIMPRESS [33] farm labourer born Ellington, Hunts; his mother; sisters Emma[7] and Margaret Annie [7 months] both born in Luddington; brother Arthur [3] born in Luddington

1901 census...Aged 22, a stockman, he was at the hamlet of Wennington, Abbots Ripton, Hunts with his parents; brothers Arthur [13] boy on farm, and Ernest H [7] born Luddington; sister Margaret A

The family apparently moved to Little Bradley during 1901 since his father died in Little Bradley on November 6th 1901.

He married Emily WALLIS [25-11-1886] in 1907 (Risbridge Q4-1907 4A:1589). She was a sister of Arthur Wallis see here

1911 census...Aged 32, a horseman on farm, he was at Little Bradley with his wife Emily [24] born Little Thurlow and their son Thomas Benjamin [24-3-1910] born Little Bradley. Another son, Frederick William was born on 1-8-1912. The pension card puts them at Thurlow Green.

His sister Margaret Annie was married in 1910 to Fred ROWLING see here

He enlisted in Haverhill

The 7th Suffolks missed the slaughter of the 1st day of the Somme, 1st July, being in Reserve and later moving up to the support trenches. Arriving in the support trenches at 3:30 am they spent the day there and prepared to attack Ovillers at 3:15am on 3rd.
The War Diary :-
At 3:15 am the Battalion made a frontal attack on Ovillers on a frontage of 200 yards; the disposition of the Battalion was as follows:-"D" Coy on the right, "C" Coy on left, supported by "B" Coy on the right, "A" Coy on the left. On the right of the Battalion was the 5th Royal Berks and on the left the 37th Brigade, the 36th Brigade being in reserve. Two companies of the Essex Reg were in support to each Battalion, the Norfolks being in reserve.
Zero was at 3:15 am, ten minutes before zero the leading waves advanced under cover of the bombardment and at the hour of zero the Battalion assaulted in eight successive wave. The first 4 waves (D & C Coys) penetrated the enemy's third line and portions of them into the village itself, but owing to the darkness touch was lost with succeeding waves and with the 5th Royal Berks on the right, so that the leading waves were not supported closely enough, thus allowing the Germans to get in between the waves and cut off the leading ones at the 3rd line of resistance. It was at the 3rd German line that the chief casualties occurred and the assault was brought to a standstill. The two companies of the Essex Regt moving up in support were too far behind and were practically annihilated by machine gun fire during their advance across the open. The casualties in the Battalion were 21 officers and 458 O.R. killed, wounded and missing, though some of these missing eventually regained the Battalion during the following night.

CWGC records show 155 of the Battalion killed, of which 110 have no known grave.

Thomas Wimpress is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, pier and face 1C/2A

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

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