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Thomas Snowdon (1878-1915)

Easington Lane man served with the 2nd DLI who had previously served in the Boer War

Thomas was born in 1878 to parents William and Elizabeth Snowdon, and was the middle of three sons. In 1881 the family were living at 72 Hetton Square, Hetton le Hole, where father William was working as a miner. By 1891 the census shows that the family had moved and were living at 81 Crowhall Lane, Felling. Thomas, then aged 14, along with his older brother William and his father were all employed as miners.

In 1899 Thomas joined the army and served as a private with the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers during the 2nd Boer War until 1902. After this army service Thomas returned to Easington Lane and resumed work in the mining industry as a hewer. He met and married Harriet Atkinson in 1904 in Houghton-le-Spring. Thomas and Harriet had three sons; Robert born in 1905, Edward born in 1908 and Thomas born in 1911. The Census of 1911 shows the family living at 90 Elemore Lane, Easington Lane.

When the First World War broke out Thomas, who was a pre-war soldier and reservist, went to Houghton-le-Spring to re-enlist as a private with the service number 4/9014. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry (DLI), then part of the 6th Division, and was sent out to join them in France on 4 January 1915. He served with the unit around the town of Armentieres and then later at Ypres in Belgium. The battalion took part in an attack on Hooge, Belgium from the edge of Sanctuary Wood on 9 August 1915. It was during this action that Thomas was killed. He was 36 years old.

Thomas’ name, along with his fallen comrades, is shown for that date in the Book of Remembrance held in the D.L.I. chapel at Durham Cathedral. Thomas has no known grave and his name is commemorated with honour on Panel 36 and 38 on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He is remembered on the Clock Tower in Easington Lane.

Thomas was awarded the 1915 star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal for his service in World War One.

Civil Parish: Hetton le Hole

Birth date: 1878

Death date: 9-Aug-1915

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 72 Hetton Square, Hetton le Hole (1881 Census)
81 Crowhall Lane, Felling (1891 Census)
90 Elemore Lane, Easington Lane (1911 Census)

Employment: Miner (1891 Census)
Miner- hewer (1911 Census)

Family: Parents: William Snowdon, Elizabeth Snowdon
Siblings: William Snowdon, John Charles Snowdon
Spouse: Harriet Snowdon nee Atkinson
Children: Robert Snowdon, Edward Snowdon, Thomas Snowdon

Military service:

1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers
2nd Boer War 1899-1902 (U.K. Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls 1793-1949)
2nd Battalion DLI
Service Number 4/9014

Medal(s): British War Medal
Victory Medal
1915 Star

Memorial(s): Clock Tower 1914-18 1939-45, Easington Lane
Book of Remembrance 1914-18 DLI, Durham Cathedral

Gender: Male

Contributed by U McKellar, Easington Village

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