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Thomas Hardcastle

Date of birth: 1883
Date of death: 1941
Area: Brotherton
Regiment: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Bertha nee Coward
Service number: 238010

War Service

Thomas was a very early volunteer for the army, attesting on 10.11.1914 and seeing more than four years service. He was assigned the service number 238010 in the KOYLI.
The following details are taken from the surviving documents in his army record.
20/11/1914 - posted 11th Battalion which was formed in Hull in October 1914 for K4 and came under command of 90th Brigade of the original 30th Division. Moved to Harrogate. 10 April 1915: converted into a reserve battalion. Moved in November 1915 to Rugeley.
24.9.1915 – posted to 8th Battalion BEF France as part of 70th Brigade, 23rd Division. On 5 September the Division was attached to III Corps and moved to the Merris-Vieux Berquin area, where trench familiarisation began under the tutelage of the 20th (Light) and 27th Divisions. The Division took responsibility for a front line sector for the first time nine days later, taking over between Ferme Grande Flamengrie to the Armentieres-Wez Macquart road. CIII and CV Brigades RFA were attached to 8th Division for operations in connection with the Battle of Loos. At this time, 23rd Division was holding the front at Bois Grenier. It remained in this area for a considerable time.
14.4.1916 – returned to the UK.
His medical report gives details relating to an incidence of nephritis in
1916. In 1918 he was awarded a pension resulting from gun shot injuries to his leg.
As a result of his injuries it was determined that Thomas had suffered a 40% disability and that he be awarded a pension amounting to 11/- per week from the date of discharge and that this be enhanced by 5/- a week for his four children from 17/1/1919.
This would have been somewhat less than an able bodied man would have been earning and would have assumed that Thomas was capable of and could find light work.

Family Life

Thomas was a latecomer to Brotherton in that it was through marriage rather than birth that he is associated with the village.
On 25.12.1903 in St Edmund’s Church he married Bertha Coward a spinster who lived in Glass House Yard, Brotherton.
Very little is known about Thomas’s background other than that shown in the 1911
He was born in about 1883 in Ferrybridge and his father was also called William. At the time of the marriage Thomas was apparently living in Brotherton but by the time of the 1911 census he and his family were at Bricklayer’s Arms Road, Ferrybridge. By then the couple had three children - Blanch(e) aged 5, Bertha 4 and Edith 1 all of whom had been born in Ferrybridge.
At that time he was employed as a ‘Colliery Banksman’ - a colliery banksman worked at the pit shaft, ensuring that coal cars (and men) were loaded on and off the "cage" elevator) safely.
At some stage prior to joining the army the couple must have moved back to Brotherton as the address Thomas provides is Glass House Yard where his wife and parents had lived. The couple also had their fourth child - William - on 11/5/1911.
After the War Thomas appears to have returned to Brotherton as letters relating to his medal awards are all addressed to Glass House Yard which occurs in census reports adjacent to addresses such as Brotherton Lock and Marsh House which would place it in the area opposite the ‘Little Marsh’ adjacent to the River Aire.
Blanche married George H Taylor in 1927 and Bertha married William Brown in 1934 - both were registered in Pontefract. It is not known if they had children. Edith married Walter Wright in 1936 and they had a son called Terrance in 1941 - both were registered in Pontefract.
William married Mary Humphries in 1937 and they had two sons - Keith 1938 and Thomas E 1942.
Thomas Hardcastle died in 1941, the death being registered in Pontefract.
There are two entries in the All England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2006 for Bertha Hardcastle born 1884 - 1970 & 1986 both registered in Pontefract.

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