55742 PTE. T. H. MERCER. LAB.CORPS.
Thomas Henry Mercer was born in the second quarter of 1883. His father was Thomas Mercer (b. 1851 in Farington) a grocer by trade (he owned a shop at 207 Station Road, Bamber Bridge). His mother was Alice Pollard (b. 1853 in Bamber Bridge). Thomas and Alice were married in 1873 and they had (at least) 9 children: Mary Alice (b. 1874), Elizabeth (b. 1877), James (b. 1879), John (b. 1882), then Thomas Henry, then Ernest (b. 1885), Lily (b. 1887), Florence (b. 1889) and finally Joseph (b. 1890). Alice died very soon after the birth of Joseph, and Thomas remarried the next year (1901), to Jane Woods (b. 1852 in Bamber Bridge). Jane had two children from a previous marriage, Agnes Ada (b. 1891) and Wilfred (b. 1896) and both her children adopted the Mercer family name. In 1907, Thomas Henry married Margaret Crook (b. 1884 in Brindle) and the couple had two children: Mary Alice (b. 1908) and Thomas (b. 1910). In 1911, the family was living at 2 Smith Street, Bamber Bridge, and Thomas Henry was working as a butcher.
Thomas enlisted on 4 December 1915 and was called up on 11 November 1916. It appears from his attestation papers that he initially joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and when he went to France on 16 December 1916 he was initially attached to 11 Casualty Clearing Station. But later he was posted to 22 Labour Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment with service number 55742 and later he was posted to 65th Company of the Labour Corps, with service number 38651. The Labour Corps did not keep War Diaries but we know from the newspaper report that he was killed when a shell hit his shelter, killing him and all the occupants. He is buried at Lijssenthoek, a few miles west of Ypres. He was 34 years old and left a wife and two young children.
Service Number: 55742
Date of Death: 17/o8/1917
Regiment/Service: Cheshire Regiment, 22nd Labour Bn. transf. to (38651) 65th Coy.
Cemetery/memorial reference: XVII. H. 13.
Cemetery: LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY