Annette Roberts is one of a number of site visitors who have left a comment – in Annette’s case, concerning her great uncle. Here’s some bits for her research.
From Annette – My Great Uncle Tom Sharples was one of the Manchester Pals, 17th Battalion 2nd Platoon killed on 1st July 1916 at Montauban, he was the third son of William Alexander and Mary Ann Sharples and brother to George, Alexander, Richard and Mary Ann Abbott (Polly) Sharples.
He worked in the Contracts Dept., Manchester Town Hall and was well known in his tennis club and Secretary to the Mens Association, St Johns Church, Cheetham. From the Anniversary Edition of the Manchester Evening News 1/7/1917:-
SHARPLES – In ever loving memory of our dear brother,
“Lance-Corporal TOM SHARPLES, 2nd Pals, who fell in
action at Montauban, July 1, 1916.
One of the best.
Sadly missed by all at home, GEORGE and ALICE.
ALEC and MOLLIE, KITTY and MAUD.”
Annette tells me “The ‘Maud’ referred to is my late grandmother. George and Alec were his brothers along with Richard (Maud’s husband) my late grandfather.” Annette also reports Tom was killed close to midnight on 1st / 2nd July 1916. At this point a large part of A Company were on the northern outskirts of the village of Montauban near the road to Quarry Cemetery and suffered ongoing problems with the German artillery. This is likely to be scene for his death. There was the A Company outpost at Triangle Point in front of the main Company positions, but these men reported little problems until the main German counter-attack at 3-4am. I’d be interested to see the source of the estimated time of Tom’s death to cross-check.
Tom Sharples was born in the Parish of St John’s in Cheetham Hill and was employed as a clerk before hostilities. He enlisted in Manchester on 11/9/1914, aged 24 years 6 months. He was promoted unpaid Lance Corporal on 9/1/1915 and paid by 1/6/1915. He arrived in France with the majority of the Battalion on 8/11/1915. Tom’s disciplinary record shows he was Ration Corporal in Maricourt / Suzanne when reprimanded twice for neglect of these duties and there is a third reprimand for damaging Government property. Service Records show the dual date of death of 1/2 July. His father William received Tom’s effects in 1916. Tom’s £8 War Gratuity and 1914/15 Star was later provided to his brother Alexander (Alec). His mother Mary Ann received his British War Medal and Victory Medals. She lived at Northlea, 48 Woodlands Road, Cheetham Hill with youngest son Richard (Annette’s Grandfather) and Mary Ann. Tom’s Service Record includes part a letter from Fanny Bithell, who seemed to be seeking information about him and may have been a girlfriend. She lived at 39 Falcon Street, Oldham and had been referred to in Form A2033 on 22/3/1916.