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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 22012 Thomas Boswell Beattie

  • Age: 21
  • From: Liverpool
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 20th Btn
  • K.I.A Monday 10th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.

Born on 23rd May 1895, Thomas Boswell Beattie was the second eldest child of Thomas Boswell and his wife Mary (nee Wood). His parents married at St Philemon's Church, Toxteth Park in 1893. His father was born in 1862 in Liverpool, and was a policeman. He died in December quarter of 1899 aged 37. 

There were three other children - Florence Mary born 1894, George, born 1897 and Louisa Fanny, born 1899. Thomas was baptised at St Peter's Church, Liverpool on 10th June 1895.

In 1901 Mary and her two younger children are shown in the Census at 64 Asbridge Street, Liverpool 8.  Young Thomas is at the nearby home of his uncle, William Little and his wife Sandra (nee Wood), at 9 Vronhill Street. 

In 1911 the Census shows that the family are back together at 64 Asbridge Street, Lodge Lane. Mother is widowed (married 18 years ago having 4 children),  she is aged 47, born in Salcombe, Devon. Her children were all born Liverpool, Thomas Boswell aged 15  is a junior clerk with an export beer bottler, George 14 is at school, and Louisa Fanny 12 is also at school. Also there is Frank Lowrey, a boarder, aged 6. 

On 06th November 1914, Thomas enlisted at Liverpool in the 20th Battalion KLR as Private 22012, giving his age as 19 years 155 days and his occupation as clerk. He was described as being 5'6 3/4" inches in height, weight 131lbs, with a 36" chest, fresh complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair. His religion is stated as C. of E.

Formed in November 1914 the 20th Battalion were originally billeted at Tournament Hall, Knotty Ash before on 29th January 1915 they moved to the hutted accommodation purposely built at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 20th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. He arrived in France on 7th November 1915.

His service record shows that on 05th April 1916 he was charged with “Leaving the ranks without permission” and “Making an improper reply to an NCO”.  He was sentenced to 4 days Field Punishment No.1 which meant that he could be restrained by fetters or handcuffs and fastened to an immovable object such as a wheel for up to 2 hours each day.

On 10th July 1916, Thomas was killed in action, aged just 21 years, during the fighting for Trones Wood. He earned three medals including the 1914/15 Star.

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties. 

The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II. 

The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary.  The place was Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.

His body was not recovered and Thomas is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. 

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. 

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

Soldiers Effects and the Pension of Thomas and George to mother Mary.

Thomas' death was reported in the Liverpool Daily Post  on 22nd July 1916

"Private Thomas Boswell Beattie was killed in action on July 11, he was the oldest surviving son (his brother George being lost through the foundering of His Majesty's Armoured Cruiser Viknor in January 1915) of Mrs Beattie, widow of the late Mr T. B. Beattie of the Liverpool police force of 64 Asbridge Street. The platoon commander in a letter to Mrs Beattie says of her son - "He was a good soldier, and if it is any consolation to you to know he died a real soldier's death whilst in hand-to-hand fight with the enemy.

Thomas' younger brother George, serving as Mersey 3/235 RNVR, died aboard HMS Viknor on 13th January 1915. While on patrol, she sank off Tory Island, Donegal in heavy weather without any distress call, perhaps hitting a German mine. None of the 295 crew was saved. Many of the bodies were washed ashore on the Ulster coast days after the sinking. 
George is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Thomas is commemorated in the Hall of Remembrance, Liverpool Town Hall at Panel 15 Left, George is commemorated on Panel 15 Right.
Their mother (dob 06th Dec 1862) appears on the 1939 register now at 90 Asbridge Street with daughter Louisa F. (dob 30th Jan 1899)
His mother died in the June quarter of 1945, aged 82.

We currently have no further information on Thomas Boswell Beattie, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old