Thomas George Haycock (1884-1927)
Birmingham man in 2nd Battalion DLI, interned in Switzerland as a prisoner of war
Thomas George Haycock was born in Birmingham in 1884. At the age of 18 he enlisted as a private soldier in the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry. He attested at Birmingham on 8 May 1902 and was given the regimental number 7870.
His army service records (in the British Army WW1 Pension Records on Ancestry) indicate that he was transferred to the Army Reserve following court martial in 1905, but he re-engaged for four years in May 1914. His battalion was mobilised on the day after war was declared and Thomas was with 2 DLI when it departed for France on 19 September 1914. Only a month later, on 20 October 1914, he was reported missing and was later confirmed as a prisoner of war.
Thomas Haycock was a prisoner until 14 September 1917, when he was repatriated and posted to the DLI Depot in Newcastle. On 19 November 1917 he was discharged from the army as being no longer physically fit for war service.
The following report from page 6 of the Sunderland Echo on 28 June 1916 tells us about his good fortune as a prisoner of war:
INTERNED IN SWITZERLAND
Mr J Rowland Storey, hon secretary of the DLI Prisoners of War Fund, has received a letter from Pte T G Haycock, who is at present interned at Pension Bon Accueil, Rossiniere, Switzerland. He states: “You will be pleased to know I am one of the lucky fellows to pass at Constance for being interned in this beautiful country. We got a splendid welcome all along the line, and it was easy to see where the Swiss people’s sympathy lay. The living and accommodation is quite above expectations. We get plenty of food, and, better still, it is of good quality. The scenery here is beautiful. We are surrounded by mountains on all sides, and the pure mountain air is working wonders for us all. You may guess how we appreciate being liberated in such a splendid place after being shut off from the outside world for such a long time. I wish you would convey my kindest appreciation to the hospital staff of the Sunderland Eye Infirmary, also Mrs Shafto for the many substantial parcels I have received.” Pte Haycock also states that he has been supplied with a new khaki suit and is in want of cap and shoulder badges to complete the outfit.
Birth date: 1884
Death date: 14-Dec-1927 (buried at Aston St Peter and St Paul's Church, Warwickshire)
Armed force/civilian: Army
Residence: 3 Priory Road, Aston, Warwickshire (1908 marriage entry)
3 back of 212 Clifton Road, Aston, Warwickshire (1911 census)
Religion: Church of England
Employment: Warehouseman in 1902 (army pension record, on Ancestry)
Caster (iron trade) at time of marriage in 1908
Property reporting – bricklayer (1911 census)
Family: Father: Charles Haycock, caster (1908 marriage entry)
Wife: Helen Gertrude Stolley, age 25 (married 24-Feb-1908 at Aston St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Warwickshire)
Enlisted in Durham Light Infantry, regimental no. 7870, at Birmingham, 8-May-1902
Private, posted to 3rd Battalion DLI, 22-Aug-1902
Posted to 2nd Battalion DLI, 16-Dec-1902
Transferred to Army Reserve, Aldershot (court martial) 7-May-1905
Re-engaged with DLI for 4 years, 8-May-1914; mobilised at Newcastle 5-Aug-1914; posted to France with 2nd Battalion DLI, 19-Sep-1914
Reported missing 20-Oct-1914; Prisoner of War official list, 01-Mar-1915
Posted to Depot, 14-Sep-1917; discharged as no longer physically fit for war service, 19-Nov-1917
Medal(s): Victory Medal
British War Medal
Contributed by Durham County Record Office
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