680904 GNR. T. BEARDSWORTH. R.F.A.
Thomas Beardsworth was born in Longridge on 6 February 1891 and baptised there on 1 April. His father was William Beardsworth (b. 1863 in Penwortham), a drawer-in in a cotton mill. His mother was Alice Ann Slater (b. 1864 in Alston, near Longridge). William’s family had moved to Longridge in the late 1860s, and he and Alice Ann were married in Longridge in 1885. They had eight children but two died in infancy. The survivors were: Alice (b. 1888), John (b. 1889), then Tom, then Annie (b. 1893), Harry (b. 1894) and finally Mary Beatrice (b. 1899). In 1911, the family was living at 78 Mersey Street, Longridge, and Tom was working as a beamer in a cotton mill.
Tom enlisted in Longridge in 1915 and was assigned service number 680904 and posted to “B” Battery of 286 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. On 9 October 1915, Tom married Agnes Roper Illingworth, in Longridge. He was then back to training. After training in 1915 and 1916, 286 Brigade landed in France in February 1917 and spent the spring and early summer in the defence of Armentières.
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 was probably wounded in earlier action, on 8 June. He died of wounds at 51st Casualty Clearing Station on 12 June. He was 26 years old.
Service No: 680904
Date of Death: 12/06/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 286 Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: III. A. 31.
Cemetery/Memorial: MERVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
Additional Information: Son of William and Alice Ann Beardsworth, of Longridge, Preston; husband of Agnes Roper Beardsworth, of 61 Mersey Street, Longridge.
Agnes did not re-marry after the War. In 1926 she joined the Register of Nurses and worked as a nurse and midwife for the rest of her working life. She died in 1978.
Tom’s brother John emigrated to Queensland, Australia sometime between 1911 and 1914, and he joined the Australian Imperial Force but I don’t know anything more about his service, except that he survived and in 1920 married Jean Rosalie Burness (b. 1900 in Queensland). He died in Queensland in 1963.