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Thomas Park (1897-1946)

Darlington man served with Royal Field Artillery

Tom was born in 1897 at Easby, a village near Richmond in the North Riding of Yorkshire. His father was a corn miller and farmer. John and Eleanor had other children: Reginald, born 1894; Eleanor Annie (Nellie), born 1896; Thomas (Tom) in 1897; Ada (Mary) in 1899 and William Arthur (Will), born at the end of 1903. Their mother died early in 1904. At some time after her death the family moved to Darlington. By 1911 the family were living at 13 Grosvenor Street, John was working as a grocer’s assistant, Reg was an ironmonger’s assistant, Nellie was the housekeeper and Tom was a messenger. The two younger children were at school.

Tom enlisted in C Troop the Royal Field Artillery and by the Summer of 1916, at the age of 19, he was a bombardier. Tom did some of his training in Edinburgh. He wrote home that he had experienced a rough time at the Riding School with the officers at first but was now enjoying riding and taking the horses over jumps. He was later sent to Woolwich and then to France.

He wrote to his brother already in France that the food was better in France that at Woolwich. On July 8 Tom wrote to Reg thanking him for a letter after a long silence. He had been anxious that Reg had been killed or badly wounded. Tom wrote from the base in La Haire:

“We are not on the hill but down in the valley you will know where I mean. It would never have been my luck to get another stripe in England but there is hope over here as we are drilling and training for instructors every day we are here. You know what I mean getting off to detail every movement of rifle drill gun drill also marching drill. A pal of mine and myself get away very canny with it except that I may be don’t shout loud enough”.

Another draft of gunners and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) were to go to the line on the following day and Tom expected to be included. He hoped to get into Reg’s division or get a “Blighty wound”. Unfortunately Reg was killed later that month, Tom hearing about it from their sister Nellie in a letter of 25 July.

Tom Park was gassed during the War and lost his sense of smell, but survived; he too was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. On the 23 July 1924, he married Margaret Lamb. By then, his Father was working as a corn merchant and Tom was a goods porter. Tom died on 16 September 1946.

Civil Parish: Darlington

Birth date: 1897

Death date: 16-Sep-1946

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 13 Grosvenor Street, Darlington (1911 census)

Employment: Messenger, School Furnishing Company (1911 census)

Medal(s): British War Medal
Victory Medal

Gender: Male

Contributed by swejk, darlington

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