RFA West Lancs Bdes
680922 DVR. T. EMMETT. R.F.A.
Thomas Emmett was born on 29 June 1888 in Longridge and baptised at Longridge St Lawrence a month later on 29 July. His father was William Emmett (b. 1853 in Longridge), an overlooker in a cotton mill. His mother was Alice Mercer (b. 1849 in Longridge). William and Alice were married in 1887 and Tom was their only child. William had been married before. His first wife was Elizabeth Whalley (b. 1852 in Longridge). They had three children: Ellen (b. 1876), Ann (b. 1882) and Thomas (b. 1886). Elizabeth died as a result of complications during Thomas’s birth. He (the first Thomas) was born on 19 December 1886 and he was baptised on Christmas Day that year, but Elizabeth died the same day. William’s second wife, Alice, also had a son, born out of wedlock, Arthur Mercer (b. 1872). In 1911, Tom was living with his parents, William and Alice, at 15 Whittingham Road, Longridge. Tom was a cotton weaver.
Tom probably enlisted in 1915. About 100 men from Longridge enlisted at the same time. They have service numbers 680896-680990 (Tom was 680922), and the majority of these men, Tom included, were posted to “B” Battery of 286 Brigade.
286 Brigade landed in France with 57th Division in February 1917, and fought in the defence of Armentières in the early part of the year and then in the Second Battle of Passchendaele in October. In April 1918, they fought in the Battle of the Lys.
After a period of rest and training, on 12 May, 286Bde returned to the front line at Sailly-au-Bois. The rest of May and all of June were relatively quiet, with some exchanges of shell fire by both sides but no major raids or attacks. The Brigade was back up to a reasonable strength, with about 30 Officers, 760 Other Ranks and 600 horses. July was also relatively quiet and at the end of the month the Brigade moved from Sailly, first to Couin then on to Fosseux, west of Arras. On 1 August, Brigade headquarters were established in Arras and after a quiet few days, heavy shelling began on 9 August. On 10 August 2nd Lt. Waldegrave was killed when a bomb dropped on their new positions. 12-17 August was again relatively quiet, and on 17-18 August the Brigade moved to new positions at Anzin-St-Aubin, where Bdr Thomas Wells and 2nd Lt H. L. Smith were killed on 17 August. The Brigade was withdrawn briefly, to return on 23 August at Boisleux-au-Mont.
The Brigade then supported the Infantry as they attacked Croisilles, which they captured on 27 August. Two days later they captured Bullecourt. From 1-3 September, the Brigade supported the Infantry as they captured first Hendicourt then Cagnicourt before crossing the Hindenburg Line north of Quéant. Quéant and Pronville fell on 3 September. The Brigade then rested at Cagnicourt before resuming harassing fire in support of attacks on the Canal du Nord at Pronville on 11 September.
Tom was wounded in this action and he died of wounds on 13 September 1918. He was 30 years old.
Service No: 680922
Date of Death: 13/09/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 286th Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: II. A. 17.
Cemetery/Memorial: SUNKEN ROAD CEMETERY, BOISLEUX-ST. MARC