12938 PTE. T. MANSFIELD. L.N.LAN.R.
Thomas Mansfield was born in October 1893 in Bamber Bridge. His father, John Mansfield, was born in Sunderland in 1858, the son of Irish immigrants who came to England in the 1840s. The Mansfield family left Sunderland and ended up in Bamber Bridge (School Lane) in the mid 1860s. In early 1881, John Mansfield married Elizabeth Parker (b. 1861 in Walton Le Dale) and they had 10 children, 7 of whom survived infancy: Mary Elizabeth (b. 1883), John William (b. 1884), Margaret Ellen (b. 1886), Lawrence (b. 1888), then a first Thomas who was born in 1890 and died within a few months, then Thomas, who survived, then Richard (b. 1896) and finally George (b. 1902).
In 1901, the family was living at 79 Chorley Road, Bamber Bridge, where John was a highway labourer/navvy, and by 1911 they had moved to 8 School Lane. John and Elizabeth and their 7 surviving children were all living at the same address. All the children apart from George who was still at school worked in the mill nearby. Tom was a spinner.
Tom signed up on 1 September 1914, just before his 21st birthday, and was posted to 7 Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment – which included the Preston Pals. His attestation form tells us he was just short of 5’ 9” tall, weighed 130lbs and had a 34½” chest. During training, he qualified as a machine gunner.
Tom landed with 7Bn at Boulogne on 17 July 1915 and fought in the Battle of Loos in September that year. After this battle and in the first half of 1916, the Battalion was in and out of the trenches in the area of Merville and Neuve Chappelle, near Armentières, but they left there in May and began training in preparation for the planned attack and at the end of June they went into the trenches at Henencourt Wood, to the north-east of Albert, on The Somme. On the opening day of the battle, 7Bn was engaged in the failed attacks on Ovillers and La Boisselle. There was then a lull in the fighting in the middle of July, but on the 19th the Battalion was ordered back into the line at Bazentin-Le-Petit, with no more than 480 rifles to defend a line over a thousand yards in length. Between 19-23 July, according to the Regimental history, 7Bn lost 11 officers and 290 other ranks, killed, wounded or missing. According to CWGC, The Loyal Regiment in total had 113 officers and men killed during those days, of these 88 were from 7Bn, including Tom Mansfield, who was 22 years old.
His effects of £1 15s 11d were returned to his father, and after the War he received a War Gratuity of £8 10s.
Service No: 12938
Date of Death: 21/07/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.
Panel Reference: Pier and Face 11 A.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
Tom Mansfield’s mother was Elizabeth Parker. Her sister, Ellen, was married to Joseph Whiteside, and they were the parents of 18816 Pte. William Whiteside, 1Bn, L.N.LAN.R. who was killed on The Somme on 15 July 1916. The two cousins were killed within a week of each other.