This post was written by Victoria Doran
Thomas Dawson was a Private in the Liverpool Scottish who died at the Battle of Hooge in 1915.
Book of Remembrance entry for Thomas Dawson
As Thomas Dawson is recorded on Grange Hill War Memorial, in the Book of Remembrance and also on the Rolls of Honour in both St Andrew and St Bridget churches at West Kirby, he must have had some connection with West Kirby and have been remembered by local people.
However it has not been possible to find out anything about him other than than to be found in what minimal military records remain. His service record has not survived.
From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission we know he was Private 4141 in the 1st /10th Battalion (Scottish), King’s Liverpool Regiment and died on 16 June 1915, which accords with the Book of Remembrance entry. His parents are given as ‘Late William and Anne Dawson’. This implies he was not married, as otherwise his next of kin would have been his wife.
No Thomas Dawson born about 1880 with parents William and Anne has been found in Wirral or Liverpool. But he could have been born anywhere.
There was a Thomas Henry Dawson born to a Walton and Ann Dawson in Liverpool at the right time. However he emigrated to Canada in 1886 with his family. All the rest of his family have been found in Ottawa in 1891, but Thomas Henry is missing from the records. No death has been found for him between 1896 and 1891 in Canada. It is odd that a boy of about 11 would not have been with his family, so maybe he ran away to sea or similar if he is the same individual.
Liverpool Scottish cap badge
From Thomas’ service number he must have enlisted during November 1914, at the same time or just before Frank Monteath who enlisted on 28 November. They must have known each other and trained together, alongside George Sydney Thomas whose regimental number is also close.
Thomas Dawson medal card
From his medal card we know he landed in France with his battalion on 11 March 1915. The 1st / 10th King’s Liverpool was a pre-war Territorial battalion, and the original members of the Liverpool Scottish landed in France on 1st November 1914. Thomas must have gone to France as a replacement for some of those who had already become casualties. By January 1915, the battalion only had 370 men fit for active service out of 855 the previous November, so replacements were essential. They had not, however taken part in any major battle, this was just trench warfare attrition.
The battalion’s first major engagement was on 16 June 1915 at the Battle of Hooge in Flanders. They formed the second wave of attackers at Bellewarde Ridge after other soldiers of the 9th Division had captured the first line trenches, which continued to be shelled by the British Artillery.
The Liverpool Scottish at Bellewarde Ridge – from wikipedia
At the end of a long day the Liverpool Scottish had suffered 400 casualties out of the 542 men and officers who started the day. Thomas was one of the 109 missing in action, alongside 79 known to have been killed. Frank Monteath also died that day.
He is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.
Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium
Any further information on Thomas Dawson would be most welcome.
Birth: about 1880; place unknown
Death: 16 June 1915 in Hooge, Ypres, Belgium
Addresses: not known
Occupation: not known
Unit: 1st / 10th Scottish, King’s Liverpool Regiment
Number & Rank: 4141 Private
Medals: Victory, British, 15 Star
Commemorated: Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium; Grange Hill War Memorial, St Bridget and St Andrew churches – all at West Kirby
Sources: CWGC, GH, MC, WK, BR