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Thomas Hughes

Updated: Mar 25, 2021



23104 Private

11th Battalion, Royal Scots, 27th Infantry Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division

Age: 25

Date of Death: Killed in Action 12.2.16

Buried: Rifle House Cemetery I.B.14

Family history: Son of James and Margaret Hughes, 29 Kerse Lane, Falkirk. He was employed as a miner before enlisting on a Short-Term duration of the war Attestation in Grangemouth on 3 June 1915. His brother James, a Private in the Royal Scots, Died of Wounds on 13 October 1917 and is buried in Dozinghem Cemetery. (See his listing) His other brother John also enlisted on 27 October 1917. He also had a sister, Sally who was married and lived in Glasgow. On 4 December 1915, he was given 14 days Field Punishment No.1 for leaving his post while on sentry duty in the trenches. From the 8 to 12 December he was in the 28 Field Ambulance with an abscess.


NOTE:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record has the wrong name on the headstone and the corresponding record. The name refers to his brother James who is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery. Thomas lies here in Rifle House Cemetery.

The action leading to his death

The 9th (Scottish) Division, from 26 January 1916 to the end of May 1916, occupied the front line trenches at Ploegsteert Wood, for ever known to the Tommie's as ’Plugstreet’ They worked on a six days in and six days out rota in the trenches. This was a comparatively quiet sector of the line and the Divisional history refers to this period as ‘..the Division experienced one of its most enjoyable times in France.’ Life was not altogether a picnic, as the wood was intermittently shelled and the trenches subjected to heavy bombardments.


The worst experience fell to the 11/Royal Scots who were in the trenches opposite the German salient known to the British as the ‘Birdcage’ on account of the tangle of wire which protected this salient. Map showing the 'Birdcage' salient and the mine craters.

(Linesman map)


Mining operations were undertaken against this salient, and the infantry provided working parties for this purpose. They also provided working parties to ensure that the trenches were firmly revetted, numerous fire steps were built, and the communication trenches were kept in good condition. On the 12 February 1916, the battalion were providing working parties of 250 men for the Royal Engineers and during this activity Thomas Hughes was killed.


Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal

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