Date of birth: 1899
Regiment: Yorkshire and Lancashire
Family information: Son of Tom and Mary Burnley (nee Cooke), 12 Oak Street, Grovetown, Pontefract
Rank: Lance Corporal
Service number: 8/13433
Tom attested (joined up) on a 3 year Short Service engagement with the 8th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment at Pontefract Barracks on 2nd September 1914 when he gave his occupation as a collier and his age as 19. However, this was not true as he was born in 1899 so could not have been older than 16.
He was described as being 5’ 6¾” tall, weighing 119lbs, having grey eyes and a medium complexion with a chest measurement of 32 inches, so he was quite slight in build.
His service number was 13433 and he was in ‘D’ company of the 8th Battalion along with his older brother Benjamin. He was posted with the battalion to Frensham Barracks on 18th September 1914 where he received his anti-typhoid inoculations in October 1914.
On 17th June 1915 he overstayed his pass by 11hrs 50 minutes and got 5 days confined to barracks and forfeited 7 days pay. Sergeant Burnley was the witness against him!
He received another 3 days CB for again overstaying his pass by 35 minutes on 8th July 1915 and then on 20th July 1915 got 7 days CB for improper conduct while on sentry duty.
He was promoted Lance Corporal on 29th July 1915 and on 27 August he was posted with the rest of the 8th Battalion to France. At some time during his service in France he suffered some form of impairment, although there is no record of him being wounded, and was posted home in June 1916 and on 27 June 1916 he was transferred to the Royal Scots Infantry in reserve. He thus missed the carnage that was the first day of the Battle of the Somme which claimed his brother’s life.
He was discharged on 14 Dec 1918 as surplus to military requirements due to having suffered impairment during service. Due to a mix up with his address he was still in the reserves in April 1921 when his discharge was back-dated to 1918.
In 1921 he confessed to spending his 17th birthday in the trenches in France, which confirms that he was only 16 when he enlisted.
He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.