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Thomas William Edward Yates

Date of birth: 1888
Date of death: 28.8.1918
Area: Kirkhamgate
Regiment: Coldstream Guards
Family information: Husband of Annie nee Elliott
Rank: Private
Service number: 13761

War Service

The list of UK Soldiers Who Died in the Great War on the Ancestry site states he enlisted in Wakefield and his residence was Kirkhamgate. He enlisted as Private 13761 of the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards and during 1918 saw action in many battles including the 2nd Battle of Bapaume (21st August – 3rd September) during which I believe Thomas was killed in action on 28th August 1918. He is remembered at the Mory Street Military Cemetery, St Leger, France. His next of kin was recorded as his widow Annie M. and he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The report in the Wakefield Express states that he was 29 years of age, lived at New Row, Kirkhamgate and was a miner at Gawthorpe Pit before enlisting in November 1914. He left behind a widow and one child, who received a letter from an officer who knew him. The officer wrote the following.
“We had a big attack on the 27th and your husband worked like a hero in getting in the wounded under heavy fire. Next day when standing by the Company Headquarters, he was killed instantly by a shell. I was standing quite close to him at the time. My grief is great when I think that your husband should have survived the awful time we had on the 27th, when he was under fire the whole day and then to be killed by a chance shell the next day. His work whilst he has been with the Company as a stretcher bearer has been magnificent and he was much beloved by the men. His death will be a great loss to me and the Battalion. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy at your great loss”.
The only child registered in the Wakefield district with a mother’s maiden name of Elliott, was a Violet Yates who was registered in 1916 so I believe her to be Thomas’ daughter.
The war diaries show that Thomas had spent most of July and August in the trenches and the battalion had been subjected to gas as well as casualties from shelling and gunfire. On the 25th March they had moved into the front-line trenches at St Leger before the big attack was launched at 7am on 27th. Casualties that day were recorded as 55 killed 63 missing and 196 wounded. The following day they “followed up the German retirement and consolidated their position.” Casualties were 1 killed (Thomas?) and 3 wounded.
Thomas was not the only member of the family to be killed in the war. Stephen Frank Yates, his brother, also enlisted under the name Frank Yates. He went to France on 7th October 1914 and served as Private 8219 Yates in the Scots Guard. In October 1917 he returned to Yorkshire to marry Hilda Johnson, a teacher, in Leeds before returning to France. He died on 2nd November 1918 in Number 10 General Hospital at Rouen, France. He was awarded the Military Medal as well as the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 14 Star with clasp. He is buried in the Saint Sever cemetery Extension, Rouen.

Family Life

Thomas William Edward Yates was born on 18th June 1888 to John George Yates and his wife Annie Maria. He was baptised at St Saviour’s Brownhill on 7th march 1900 when they were recorded as living in Howden Clough.
According to the 1891 census, John was a stone mason and Annie came from Gloucestershire. Ten years later they were living on Moat Hill Birstall and Thomas had three younger siblings – Herbert (b 1890), Stephen Frank (b 1894) and Alice Ann Lily (b 1900). Sadly Alive died in 1903 aged just 3. The 1911 census for the Yates family revealed that John and Anne had had eight children of which four had already died.
In 1910 Thomas married Annie Elliott in the Dewsbury registration district and the following year they were boarding at 11, Tick Hill Street, Denaby Main, Rotherham. He was a miner so had probably gone there for work.

Rows of white gravestones surrounded by plants and mown grass St Sever Cemetery Extension Rouen

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