2nd Lieutenant, 7th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment.
Thomas was born in Sheffield in 1891. His parents were Thomas born in Birmingham c. 1857, a Spanner Fitter and Annie, born in Sheffield c. 1859.
In 1901 the family were living at 39 Michael Road, Sheffield (no longer exists) and comprised of Thomas and Annie, older sister Alice aged 13 and younger brothers Robert and William aged 7 and 2.
Sadly Robert was to die aged 19 in 1912.
In 1908, Thomas enlisted into the Army, serving with the York and Lancaster Regiment. He was then aged 17 and 10 months and described as an Engineer Tool Maker. He was numbered as Private 9242.
In 1911 he was still in the Army whilst the family had moved to 58 Leamington Street, Crookes, Sheffield. Mother Annie had passed away but both his brothers and sister were still at the family home. Alice married Albert Adams in 1912.
In 1910, Thomas and his battalion went to India where they were still based at the outbreak of the First World War. They returned to England in November 1914 and finally entered France in May 1915.
Thomas was discharged to take up a commission in June of 1917.
He was wounded on the 22nd of October 1917 and died on that date.
In a letter written to Thomas’ sister, Alice, by his friend, George Hinchliff, he stated : I should have written to you before had I known your address. The War Office communications are rather abrupt and give little consolation to the poor fellow’s relatives. Tom and I shared the same dugout for a considerable time and naturally soon became intimate. We worked together occasionally often under bad conditions and he always presented a cheery disposition to his fellows. About noon on the 22nd he should have relieved my platoon. He met an old friend on the way & sent his men under his Sergt until he had a few words with this officer. Unfortunately a shell burst near him whilst he was chasing after his platoon and the poor lad was hit in the legs. The stretcher bearer attended to him immediately and I came on the scene soon afterwards. The only complaint he made was that the sunshine hurt his eyes and thanked us for shielding the light. He talked quite intelligently while bring carried to the ambulance and though I knew his wounds were serious it never occurred to me that his end was near. Near the end of the journey he seemed to weaken very much and gradually fell asleep. The motor driver needed little urging and drove at full speed to the Clearing Station but the shock had been too great : nothing could be done. He had a decent funeral and his grave is marked by a cross provided by the battn. I shall be able to give you the exact position of it in a few weeks time. I will write at once to his brother and trust that you won’t trouble too much. Yours very sincerely Geo. F. Hinchliff.
PS I checked all the personal belongings very carefully and they should be forwarded to you from Messrs Cox & Co, 16 Charing Cross. If any difficulty arises, don’t hesitate to let me know – I will do my best.
He was 27 years old.
He is now buried in Solferino Farm Cemetery.
A telegram was sent to his father, then living at 18 Norman Street, Lincoln – Deeply regret to inform you that 2/Lieut T. Manton York (&) Lancaster Regiment Died of wounds twenty second October. The Army Council expresses their sympathy.
On the 5th of November 1917, Miss. N. Elliott of ‘back of’ No. 8 Court, Garden Street off Hanover Street, Sheffield wrote to the Army. Describing herself as Thomas’ fiancée she wrote – I should be very grateful if you could tell me if it is true that my fiancée 2nd Lieut T Manton of The 7th York and Lancs has been killed as I saw his name among the deaths in The Sheffield Telegraph (of) October 27th. Trusting you will oblige. I remain. Yours truly. Miss. N. Elliott.
A reply, written on the 7th of November was returned to her confirming that Thomas had died of wounds in 14th Corps Medical Dressing Station, France, on the 22nd October.
One can only imagine her feelings on seeing his name in print before official notification had been received.
Strangely, another lady, name unknown but with an address at No 5 East, Township, Gretna, also wrote to the Army in a letter dated the 4th of November. She stated – It is with deepest regret I have learnt of (my) sweetheart’s death in France. Would you mind relieving my anxiety by letting me know whether it is a fact or not. I only got to know by a returned letter. His name and regiment is as follows…….
This note was contained within Thomas Manton’s service file. Who this lady was can only be speculated upon.
In his will, Thomas left the whole of his property to his sister, Alice.