RFA West Lancs Bdes
680867 SJT. T. W. BOARDMAN. R.F.A.
Thomas William Boardman was born in the second quarter of 1888 in Preston. His father was William Boardman (b. 1865 in Preston), a van man working for a steam laundry. His mother was Sarah Jane Thornborrow (b. 1862 in Ashton on Ribble), who ran a draper’s store. William and Sarah Jane were married in 1885 and they had 6 children: Catherine (b. 1885), the Thomas William, then May (b. 1890), Beatrice (b. 1892), Henry (b. 1894) and finally Percy (b. 1897). In 1911, the family lived at 45 New Hall Lane in Preston, and Thomas was working as a draper’s assistant.
Tom enlisted in Preston in 1915 and was assigned service number 680867 and posted to “C” Battery of 286 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Towards the end of his training period, on 20 October 1916, Tom married Harriet Horn (b. 1889 in Barrow-in-Furness). Harriet was an asylum nurse before the War. Tom was then back to training and 286 Brigade landed in France in February 1917 and spent the spring and early summer in the defence of Armentières. At some stage, Tom was promoted to Sergeant.
In June 1917, 286 Brigade were defending Armentières and the War Diary reports regular enemy bombardment of the town and the artillery batteries. 286Bde were engaged in wire-cutting and general harassment of the enemy, but suffered retaliation. On 11 June, the Diary records: “1 Other Rank D/286 wounded. A/286 Bde position heavily shelled with 5.9s. C/286 Bde 2 O/R killed in action, 14 O/R wounded. Wire-cutting. S.O.S. – Enemy succeeded in entering our front-line trench but did not get out again”. Tom may have been wounded in this action or possibly in earlier action, on 8 June. He died of wounds at 54th Casualty Clearing Station on 12 June. He was 28 years old.
Service No: 680867
Date of Death: 12/06/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “C” Bty, 286 Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: IV. B. 3.
Cemetery/Memorial: ESTAIRES COMMUNAL CEMETERY AND EXTENSION
Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Boardman, of Preston; husband of Harriet Boardman, of 19 Skerries Road, Anfield, Liverpool.
After the War, Sarah Jane Boardman renamed her house “Estairs”, after the cemetery where her son was buried.
In 1918, Harriet Boardman re-married. Her husband was William Anderton (b. 1897 in Fleetwood). William had enlisted in 1915 in the Royal Army Medical Corps (he was underage, he was 17 but claimed to be 19). He served the War out in the RAMC serving at home, reaching the rank of Sergeant.
It’s possible that Tom’s brother, Percy, also joined the artillery and served in 286 Bde. He may be 680454 CPL. PERCY BOARDMAN.