THOMAS HILL HAMMOND
This biography was written by Victoria Doran.
Thomas Hill Hammond went straight from Birkenhead School into the army in 1916. He was a wealthy young man with apparently a bright future ahead of him, but after becoming an officer in 1918 he died only 2 days after returning to the front line.
from Birkenhead School Roll of Honour
Thomas Hill Hammond was born on 27 August 1897 at Whitefield House, Anfield, Liverpool. His parents Thomas Hammond (1851-1899) and Helena Elizabeth Hill (1858-1928) were married at All Saints, Toxteth Park, Liverpool on 11 June 1895.
Thomas was their first child to be followed in 1899 by his sister Lena Isabelle Hammond (1899-1966).
Thomas Hammond was born in March 1851 in Whitehaven, Cumberland. At the 1851 census he was only 2 weeks old and his mother Isabella (née Magee; 1809-1890) was a widow, so he must was almost certainly born posthumously. He was an only child though his parents were married 6 years earlier in 1845 in Whitehaven. All that is known of his father was that he was also called Thomas and was a shipowner.
In 1841 Isabella was living in the coastal village of St Bees, a few miles south of Whitehaven. She was the head of household and had 3 younger siblings with her. Presumably her parents had died. She must have been left with an income sufficient for independence as none of them worked.
In 1861 she and her son Thomas had moved back to St Bees. Possibly he attended the public school there as a day boy. When he left home she returned to Whitehaven for the rest of her life. When she died in 1890 she left over £400.
Thomas started out intending to farm as in 1871 he was an agricultural apprentice at Hayton Castle, Cumberland. However he must have soon changed his mind, as on 8 August 1878 he qualified as a doctor and surgeon and was put on the UK Medical Register. In 1881 he was at Warley, Yorkshire working as a surgeon.
About 1887 he moved to Liverpool and joined the medical staff of Walton Prison, where he worked for the rest of his life.
He was a rather elderly bachelor aged 44 when he married. It is not known whether the family had moved to West Kirby by 1899, but that is where he died of apoplexy on 21 October 1899.
Liverpool Mercury of 23 October 1899
As he was buried in West Kirby it seems likely they were living there at the time. However his daughter Isabella’s birth was registered in West Derby in the October quarter of 1899, so she must have been born in Liverpool. Maybe her mother had moved back to Liverpool. However if Isabella had been born at her maternal grandmother’s home, the birth would have been registered at Toxteth Park, not West Derby.
Thomas Hammond left his widow not much more money than he had, presumably, inherited from his own mother.
Money was not to be a problem for Isabella as she was quite wealthy in her own right. She was the daughter of Ely Hill (1807-1874) and Mary Catherine Parlane (1826-1900). Ely Hill was a Brazilian merchant from Leeds, Yorkshire who moved to Liverpool in the 1850s. When he married Mary by licence on 7 January 1858 at St George, Everton he described himself as a bachelor. He was over 50 years old. Mary was the widow of Robert Theakstone (1819-1854), who in 1851 was a ‘gentleman’. They had no children. His father, another Robert Theakstone, was a merchant, property owner and Justice of the Peace who was one of the executors for Alexander Parlane (Mary’s father) when he died in 1847. Alexander Parlane was also a merchant.
Ely and Mary had 3 children, Helena being the eldest. The youngest Charles Alexander Hill became a doctor.
By 1901 Isabella had lost both her parents as well as her husband. She was living with her 2 young children at 21 Croxteth Road, Princes Park, Liverpool (her mother’s former home) and she was employing 4 household servants.
By 1911 they had moved to Plas Gwyn, St Margaret’s Road, Hoylake and there were only 2 servants.
Thomas Hill Hammond attended Birkenhead School from 1913 to 1916. This would be sixth form years nowadays. It is not known where he was educated before that. Many boys with his background would have been sent to boarding school. At Birkenhead he played in the Football XV (presumably rugby) and was a corporal in the Officer Training Corps.
On leaving school he joined the Liverpool Scottish (10th Battalion, Kings Liverpool Regiment), but was soon transferred to the newly formed Machine Gun Corps.
Machine Gun Corps cap badge
He saw service in France as an NCO before succumbing to trench fever in October 1917 and being sent to hospital in England for 3 months to recover.
Once fit, he was trained at Kinmel Park as an officer. He received a commission as a Temporary Lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps dating his seniority from 23 June 1918.
This medal card does not show his earlier service in France, nor his service in the Liverpool Scottish. However it shows that he landed as an officer just 6 days before he died on 31 October 1918. He had arrived at the front line at Sweveghem, Belgium just 2 days before to join the 35th Company of the Machine Gun Corps.
from Birkenhead School Roll of Honour
Thomas was originally buried in Sweveghem Churchyard but in 1933 he was one of 31 men reburied in Vichte Military Cemetery in West Flanders, Belgium.
He was also commemorated on the family grave at St Bridget; but sadly that is now in disrepair.
Vichte Military Cemetery
His probate record show he left over £5,000, so had the war not intervened he could have taken up almost any career or calling he chose.
After his death his mother moved to 3 Sandlea Park, West Kirby. His sister Lena married in 1934 and remained in Wirral. It is not known if she had any children.
Birth: 27 Aug 1897 at Whitefield House, Anfield, Liverpool
Death: 31 Oct 1918 killed in action at Sweveghem, Flanders, Belgium; age 21
Addresses: 21 Croxteth Road, Princes Park, Liverpool (01); Plas Gwyn, St Margaret’s Road, Hoylake (11)
Units: 10th Battalion, Liverpool Scottish; 35th Company Machine Gun Corps
Ranks and number : Private 58021, Machine Gun Corps; 2nd Lieutenant
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated: Vichte Military Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium; St Bridget Churchyard, West Kirby; GH; WK; Birkenhead School Roll of Honour
Sources: CWGC, MC, BR, PR, Census: 01, 11, Probate, LM, BOB