Thomas Keogh, L/Cpl 12903, 10th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died of wounds 17th August 1916 at Stourbridge, Worcestershire, aged 26
Thomas Keogh was born in Macclesfield in late 1889, the son of Mary Keogh, a silk piecer of Macclesfield. In 1891, 2 year old Thomas was living with his mother and her sister Nora at 1 Court 1 House, Water Street, Macclesfield, next door to her brother and widowed father, both also named Thomas. In 1901, the family had moved to 10 Mill Lane, Macclesfield, where Thomas, aged 11 was living with his mother, an older sister, Maggie, aged 16, and a visitor, Edwin Wain; and by 1911, Thomas and his mother were living at 84 Lord Street and Thomas was employed as a butcher by Harry Young, butcher of 97 Commercial Rd, Hurdsfield.
Thomas was educated at St Peter’s Day School and attended the Sunday School.
Thomas enlisted with the 9th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment in Macclesfield on 31st August 1914. He was described in his service records as 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 124 pounds, with a 32 inch chest, a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair, and at the time of enlisting was employed as a builder’s labourer. He was sent for training on 3rd September to a number of locations including Weston-Super-Mare. Whilst there, on 31st January 1915 Thomas was convicted of assault at Weston-Super-Mare Petty Sessions and sentenced to one month’s hard labour; and on 24th March 1915 he was reprimanded by his superior officer for being unshaven and having dirty equipment on parade, for which he was confined to barracks for two days.
On 12th July 1915 Thomas married Mary Gaskell at St Peter’s Church, Windmill St, Macclesfield. He was drafted to France just a few days later, embarking from Folkestone on 19th July 1915.
On 20th November 1915 Thomas was sent back to the UK and on 24th was admitted to the 1st Scottish General Hospital in Aberdeen, suffering from frostbite to his feet, remaining there for ten days. It was noted that his symptoms on admission were slight and there was no sign of gangrene. Four months later on 15th April 1916, he was sent to join the 10th Cheshire Regiment, which came under orders of 75th Brigade in 25th Division. James returned to France on 19th May 1916 and was promoted to Lance Corporal a month later, on 21st June.
In early July 1916, the 10th Cheshire Regiment was located near Ovillers La Boiselle, a village located near Thiepval in the Somme area of France. On 11th July the battalion relieved the 8th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, taking over all advanced positions. Around this time Thomas received a serious injury to his right leg – a gun shot wound which caused a compound fracture of his femur. On 13th July he was admitted to No. 44 Casualty Clearing Station, which was located about 25km to the west at Puchevillers, and was later transferred to the 9th General Hospital at Rouen, arriving there on 18th July. In early August 1916 Thomas was sent back to the UK, and was admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital at Stourbridge, Worcestershire on 12th August, where he died six days later at 7pm on 17th August 1916 as a result of the gun shot wound and haemorrhage after an operation.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 25th August 1916:
A MILITARY FUNERAL – MACCLESFIELD MAN’S FATAL WOUNDS
We regret to state that Lance-Corporal Thomas Keogh, 9th Batt Cheshire Regt, whose wife resides at 4 Upton Cottages, Snow Hill, died in hospital at Stourbridge, Worcestershire, on Thursday last week from wounds received in action in France. The deceased soldier was wounded in the knee by shrapnel and underwent two operations in France. Subsequently he was removed to England and passed away at seven o’clock on Thursday night following a third operation.
The late L/Cpl Keogh was 26 years of age. He received his education at St Peter’s Day School and attended the Sunday School in the parish. He enlisted on the outbreak of war and was married two days before proceeding to the front. L/Cpl Keogh was first drafted out to France on July 19th 1915, and returned home the following November suffering from frostbite. Upon recovery he again went out and had been there about three months when he was fatally wounded. Prior to enlisting he was employed by Mr H Young, butcher, Hurdsfield. The deceased soldier has a cousin and three brothers-in-law serving in the army, and an uncle served during the Boer War.
The funeral took place at the Macclesfield cemetery yesterday afternoon with military honours. The body came by rail from the hospital, accompanied by four soldiers, arriving in Macclesfield at 11.30 on Tuesday morning… Corporals Hatton, T. Wellings and Radforth and Private Usher acted as bearers… Father Curran officiated, and at the conclusion of the service the “Last Post” was sounded by Albert Parker, of the Christ Church Scouts. The mourners included the following: Widow, mother and sister; Mr E Wain, Miss Norah Keogh, Mr W Gaskell, Mr T Gaskell, Miss Nellie Newton, Miss S Gaskell, Miss Nellie Gaskell, Mr John Bailey, Mr J Kirk and Mrs Vernon.
L/Cpl Thomas Keogh is buried in grave ref. J. 8653 in Macclesfield Cemetery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for L/Cpl Thomas Keogh.
The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one with the words “In loving memory of my dear husband, Private Thomas Keogh.”
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Cheshire BMD: Marriages
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 25 August 1916