RFA West Lancs Bdes
680743 DVR. T. COULTHARD. R.F.A.
Thomas Coulthard was born in the third quarter of 1888 in Bolton. His father was Thomas Coulthard (b. 1859 in Wigan), a blacksmith and later labourer for a ship dismantler. His mother was Mary Salisbury (b. 1846 in Rossendale). I believe Mary was previously married though I haven’t been able to trace her first husband’s name nor her surname at birth. Tom and Mary were married in Preston in 1886 and they had two sons, Tom jnr and Samuel (b. 1890). Both boys were born in Bolton though by 1901 the family was back in Preston. In 1911, they were living at 45 Savoy Street, Preston. Tom jnr was a ship dismantler, like his father.
Tom snr had previously served in the Army. He enlisted in 1879 and served 6 years in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and was discharged in 1885 and he then served a further 6 years in the Reserve, being discharged, time served, in 1891. In August 1915, at the age of 55, Tom enlisted in the Royal Defence Corps (he claimed to be 49). He served at home, spending at least some time on the Isle of Man, and was discharged as medically unfit on 29 October 1917. Tom died in 1919.
Just after the Census was taken in 1911, Tom jnr married Annie Wilkinson (b. 1893 in Preston) and in 1912 the couple had a son, John. The family lived at 3 Ribble Street, Preston. Tom first enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in Preston on 3 December 1914 and he was given service number 56006. He was posted to 9th Battery but he was discharged as medically unfit on 18 January 1915. Tom had varicose veins in both legs causing discomfort if he walked or stood too long. But somehow Tom re-enlisted and passed the medical and he was later assigned service number 680743 and was probably initially posted to “A” Battery of 286 Brigade. Tom was a Driver. At some stage, however, he was transferred to 37th Divisional Ammunition Column.
According to The Long, Long Trail, 37th Division was engaged in the Battle of the Ancre on 5 April 1918. This was the final battle of the first phase of the German Spring Offensive, on the Somme, when the Germans realised they were not going to reach their objective (the capture of Amiens), and they would now turn their attention to a second attempt to breach the Allies’ lines further north. Tom was wounded in action, probably not during the attack itself but in skirmishes which followed. He died from wounds at Doullens on 21 May 1918. He was 29 years old.
Service No: 680743
Date of Death: 21/05/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, 37th Divisional Ammunition Column
Cemetery/memorial reference: I. B. 24.
Cemetery: DOULLENS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION NO. 2