41980 PTE. T. WOODS. LANCS.FUS.
Thomas Woods was born in the first quarter of 1885 in Bamber Bridge. His father was James Woods (b. 1857 in Bamber Bridge), a cotton spinner. His mother was Elizabeth Clifton (b. 1857 in Samlesbury). They married in 1877 and had 13 children but only 5 survived infancy: John (b. 1883), then Thomas, Herbert Joseph (1890-1911), Elizabeth (b. 1894) and finally Agnes (b. 1895). Elizabeth died in 1908 and in 1911 Thomas was living with his father and two sisters at 28 Station Road, Bamber Bridge (James had buried his son Herbert just before the Census was taken). Tom was a spinner like his father. James died in 1914.
Tom enlisted probably in 1915 in the Lancashire Fusiliers and was assigned service number 41980 and posted to 10th Battalion. 10th (Service) Battalion came under orders of 52nd Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division. This is the same brigade as Arthur Jolly. In 1916, 17th Division fought on the Somme during the Battle of Albert (where they captured Fricourt), and during the Battle of Delville Wood. In 1917, they were engaged in the Battle of Arras, specifically the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe (9-14 April and 23-24 April respectively). After this latter engagement, the Battalion was withdrawn from the line and in early May was in Brigade reserve. Four men from 10Bn, including Tom, were recorded as dying on 5 May but from 1-9 May 10Bn was in Brigade reserve where it was employed chiefly in working and carrying parties. The War Diary doesn’t indicate any shelling or enemy attack and as they were at Haute Avesnes, they were some way behind the lines. Tom is buried at Athies Communal Cemetery, which was attached to a field ambulance, so what seems likely is that Tom died there of wounds received in the fighting at the end of April. He was 32 years old.
Service Number: 41980
Date of Death: 05/05/1917
Regiment/Service: Lancashire Fusiliers, 10Bn
Cemetery/memorial reference: J. 2.
Cemetery: ATHIES COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION