Private Thomas Hartley

Private Thomas Hartley, 1st/7th ( Territorial ) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action in Belgium during the Battle of St Julien on 26th April 1915, aged 25, and is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium. He had been born in Berwick and before the War he had been employed at Allan Bros. Woodyard at Tweedmouth. The Battalion had only landed in France on 21st April and was rushed up to Belgium to take part in a hurried attack in support of the Canadians. They attacked over open ground with no cover into intense machine gun fire and predictably suffered over 400  casualties. The first photo shows troops trying their rudimentary gas masks. ( The Germans had used poisonous gas for the first time on the Western Front on the 22nd April ). The second photograph shows the impressive Memorial raised to the 50th ( Northumbrian ) Division of which the Battalion was part until February 1918. It was erected near the village of Weiltje in the Ypres Salient where nearby on the 26th April 1915 it had fought its first action of the War.

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