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Thomas Massam was born n 1889 in Birkdale, near Southport.  His father was Henry (Harry) Massam (b. 1848 in Scarisbrick), a railway labourer and later farmer.  His mother was Ann Foster (b. 1849 in Southport).  Harry and Ann were married in Southport in 1876 and they had 7 children, all of whom survived infancy: John (b. 1878), William (b. 1880), Ann (b. 1883), Henry (b. 1885), Margaret (b. 1886), then Thomas and finally Jane (b. 1893).  They moved to Bamber Bridge in 1892 and lived first at 11 Duddle Lane, and by 1911 they had moved to a farm on Green Lane, Bamber Bridge (now Green Drive, off Todd Lane).  Tom was an engineering fitter’s labourer.


Tom enlisted in late 1914 or early 1915, first in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps with service number 02533. He landed in France on 10 July 1915 with the RAOC but at some stage he was transferred to the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) Regiment with service number 76459.  He was posted first to 12th Battalion and then to 2/5th Battalion.  12Bn was a Pioneer battalion so that was a logical place for a man with an engineering background.  2/5Bn served in Ireland during the first part of the War quelling disturbances after the Easter Rising of 1916, but in January 1917 they moved to France, so that is probably when Tom was transferred.  At some stage he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

2/5Bn came under orders of 176th Brigade in 59th (2nd North Midland) Division.  In 1917, the Division was first engaged in the pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (April) but then they had a lengthy period of training before being committed to the Third Battle of Ypres in September.  They fought at the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge (23-25 September) and the Battle of Polygon Wood (26-30 September).  They were also engaged in the Battle of Cambrai, in the capture of Bourlon Wood (28 November) and in the German counter-attacks (30 November – 3 December).  They suffered heavy casualties especially on 1 December, but eventually withdrew to Flesquières.

After a period of rest and training, the Division was back at the front line at Bullecourt in February 1918 where much work was done on strengthening the defences against an anticipated enemy attack. On 2 March they moved from Croisilles to Mory where they were engaged in more training and every third night working parties were sent out to strengthen defences.  It was during this period that Tom was killed.  He was 28 years old.


Rank:  Lance Corporal

Service Number:  76459

Date of Death:  04/03/1918

Aged: 28 (CWGC says 30)

Regiment/Service:  Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment), 2nd/5th Bn. 
Cemetery/memorial reference: III. A. 8.


Additional Information:  Son of Harry and Ann Massam, of Green Lane Cottage, Bamber Bridge, Preston.

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