I found quite a bit of information on the Internet related to Tom’s military service in the Great War.
Tom was a member of the 2nd battalion of the 22nd London Regiment (2/22). The regiment was known as the “Queens” because it had links with the Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment). Recruited in Bermondsey, the second battalion in which Tom served was headquartered at 2 Jamaica Rd.
WWI was the last war in which people served with their friends and neighbors. The scale of the slaughter had a very negative effect on morale. In the future, recruits would find themselves serving with people from other parts of the country, with whom they did not have strong emotional ties.
Tom is pictured standing on the far left. It says “Queens are Trumps” across the top of the photo.
I found this summary of the 60th Division, to which the regiment belonged:
“The 2/2nd London Division was formed from the Home Service men of the Territorial Force units in the 47th Division. It was formed in Great Britain in January 1915. Many men volunteered for service overseas and and were drafted to units overseas. The Division received orders to prepare to go overseas in April 1916. The move to France was completed by the end of June 1916. The Division served in France until November 1916, it then went to Macedonia and on to Palestine [where] it served … until the Armistice (31 October 1918).”
Tom would have turned 18 in December 1915. I assume he was called up (drafted) soon after, or he may have volunteered. By then, the entire regiment was gearing up to travel to France, where they arrived in June 1916. Fortunately, in November they were withdrawn and sent to Greece. Tom always said that if he had stayed in France, where the biggest slaughter took place, his chances of survival would have been much less.
The regiment apparently traveled first to Marseille and then the island of Malta. They eventually arrived in Salonika, “completing assembly on Christmas Day 1916.”
On 24-25 April and 8-9 May 1917, the Division was engaged in the Battle of Doiran, another British debacle. I had never read about this battle before. The enemy were the Bulgarians, allies of the Germans. Tom was wounded at some point in the battle.
In June/July 1917, the Division moved to Egypt, to join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force for the campaign in Palestine. The Division took part in the following engagements:
30 Oct – 7 Nov Third battle of Gaza
31 Oct Capture of Beersheba
6 Nov Capture of the Sheria position
General Allenby’s report of these engagements can be read here.
7-9 and 26-30 Dec Capture and defense of Jerusalem
19-21 Feb Capture of Jericho
8-12 Mar Battle of Tell’Asur (north of Bethel)
21 Mar – 2 Apr First Trans-Jordan raid
27-30 Mar – Attack on Amman
30 Apr – 4 May – Second Trans-Jordan raid
19-21 Sept – Battle of Sharon.
I have no idea where this photo was taken. Tom is in the middle and he seems to have a lamp clamped to his uniform.
At this point, I have no idea which battles Tom may have taken part in. In the second half of 1918, he returned home on leave. Ethel fell ill with the Spanish flu and was in a serious condition. Tom overstayed his leave, until she was out of danger. They were married at St. Martin’s Church on October 24. Tom spent six weeks in prison for going AWOL. In the meantime, the War had ended. He was offered the chance to “redeem” himself by going to Germany with the occupying forces. In the circumstances, I imagine he was happy to do so. Mum tells me that Tom was wounded twice, once in the shoulder, once in the knee. He was also recommended for a medal for gallantry, for rescuing a comrade under fire. I wonder whether the recommendation was ignored because of his scrape with authority.
This is Tom and Ethel’s marriage certificate. The original is very large so the detail may be hard to read. If you click on it, you should be able to see a larger version.