Worcestershire. 21 May 1917

Thomas Whitwell was born at Dumfries and his family moved to Stourbridge. At the start of the war he was married with one child and living at 3 Mamble Road, Stourbridge. He volunteered for the Worcesters in 1914 and was sent to the 2nd Battalion. They had been involved with all the major fighting on the Western Front since the outbreak of war, and in the Spring of 1917 they were in the front line again for the Battle of Arras. After major action on the 23rd April and 11th May they returned to their front line position within the partly captured Hindenburg Line and just north of the village of Croisilles. They faced a notably strong section of the German defensive system, and this was to be the objective of the forthcoming attack on the 20th May. Conditions were favourable at the outset as the whole area was in mist at daybreak and this enabled the troops to achieve some element of surprise. The Worcesters attacked in four waves of company strength and the enemy's wire was reached without detection. While a confusing bombing contest went on in the second line of trenches, German artillery shelled the whole area behind them. Nevertheless, the German front line had been won and kept. Only at nightfall on the 21st was the battalion relieved, but scarcely half of them were able to report for parade. The losses were 36 killed, 73 missing and 141 wounded. Among the killed was Private Thomas Whitwell who died on the 21st May. He was 26 years of age and is commemorated on the Arras, Stourbridge and St. Thomas's church Memorials. He had three brothers and four brothers-in-law on active service.

Commemorated at:

Stourbridge Mary Stevens Park

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Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, West Midlands, United Kingdom

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