Corporal Thomas Fell

Corporal Thomas Hope Fell, 1st/7th ( Territorial ) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action, aged 27, on 26th April 1915 in the Battle of St. Julien ( part of the Second Battle of Ypres ) and is buried in the Seaforth Cemetery, Cheddar Villa, Belgium. He had been born in Tweedmouth and was the son of Charles and Margaret Fell of Main Street, Tweedmouth, Berwick-on-Tweed. He had been educated at Tweedmouth National School and was a keen sportsman being especially interested in rowing and running where he was captain of Berwick Harriers. The Battalion landed in France at Boulogne on 21st April and went straight to Wieltje in Flanders where they were ordered to attack German positions at Fortuin. As a baptism of fire it was a disaster. They attacked over open ground under heavy machine gun fire and found the forward trenches full of British troops ( the Seaforth Highlanders ). Caught in the open with no shelter more casualties occurred until the men could gain access to cover. The cost was dreadful. 2 Officers and 19 Other Ranks were killed with 12 Officers and 217 Other Ranks were wounded. In addition 161 Other Ranks were posted missing. 2 days at the front and the Territorials had suffered 411 casualties round about 40% of the Battalion strength and nothing to show for it. The next day the Battalion was pulled back to billets in Wieltje to recover and refit. The photograph shows the impressive Memorial raised to the 50th ( Northumbrian ) Division of which the Battalion was part until February 1918 when it was transferred to the 42nd ( East Lancashire ) Division as the Pioneer Battalion. It was erected near Weiltje in the Ypres Salient where the Division had fought its first action of the War.

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