Thomas Leeson lived at 52 Union Street, Stourbridge, with his mother. He was a single man, aged 27, who worked as a carpenter and joiner. He was born in Oldswinford but attended Pedmore School. He was probably a conscript and was posted to the 10th Lincolnshire battalion in the 34th Division. This was a division of Kitchener volunteers which had been though some of the severest fighting of the war. It had lost very heavily on the first day of the Somme in 1916 and had been in the main fighting in the battle of Arras in April and May 1917. In August 1917 it was in Artois close to the newly constructed Hindenburg Line just in advance of the village of Hargicourt. After some days of acclimatising to the ground the Division was ordered to make an attack in order to gain the ridge overlooking the enemy lines. The Lincolns were one of the leading battalions on the 26th August. The approach was in complete silence and then at 4.30 a.m. they advanced behind a creeping barrage - 50 yards every 4 minutes - over Pond Trench and past Sugar Farm. They were successful in achieving surprise. Many German soldiers were willing to surrender and many prisoners were taken. Overnight, however, heavy rain fell and the task of consolidating the gains was made very difficult. Heavy German shelling of the area meant casualties and enemy machine guns were a constant threat. It was probably injury from rifle or machine gun that led to the death of Private Thomas Leeson. He was severely wounded and sent back from the front line. He died in Tincourt Casualty Clearing Station of gun-shot wounds to the chest. The matron wrote in a letter to his mother that 'he did not suffer much and passed away in his sleep'. He is buried in the British cemetery at Tincourt (1 G 17) and commemorated on the Stourbridge, Oldswinford church and St. Thomas's church Memorials.
Market Street, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1AQ
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