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Born: 1881, Norton
Died: 5 December 1920, St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford
Buried: Holy Trinity Church, Idle
Address: 21A Stoney Lane, Eccleshill
Parents: William & Mary, nee Watson
Spouse: Sarah Hannah, nee Patchett
Siblings: David
Occupation: soldier
Rank: Sgt
Medals/awards: Mons Star
Rolls of Honour:
Children: Alice, Thomas, Ronald, Douglas
Regiment: West Yorkshire
Thomas Cross
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Thomas Cross was a military man for more than half of his life. On 30 July 1915, the Shipley Times & Express published an interview with him. While many men at the front were little more than raw recruits who had answered Lord Kitchener’s call to arms, Cpl Thomas Cross was a seasoned campaigner. He’d been in the 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment for 16 years and fought in South Africa receiving two medals and five bars. He had been fighting in France since the outbreak of hostilities and was at home in Institute Road, Eccleshill, on a short leave when he spoke to a reporter. “The Germans are bigger men on the average than the British but in bayonet work they are no match for the Yorkshire lads,’ he said. Bayonet charge “I have been in two bayonet charges and found that the Germans neither wanted a taste of cold steel nor did they care to use it. “Many of the wounds inflicted by this weapon are flesh wounds and lots of our lads have tied a rag round the wound and gone on fighting. ‘The biggest pests are German snipers for they are splendid shots
and always on the lookout for a target.” Like so many men, Cpl Cross had a story to tell of a narrow escape. “He had been to see the officer regarding the time of leaving the trenches and as they were to stay a little longer he sat down in his dugout. “Thinking he would like to have a word with a comrade he got up and made toward him and had only gone a short distance when a shell burst and part of it penetrated the very place he had been sat in.” Cpl Cross, who had returned to the front since giving the interview, thought the Germans knew they were beaten on the Western Front but didn’t expect them to give in. Later that year, on 19 November, he was mentioned in a piece about one family’s service in the war: “Mr and Mrs Albert Patchett of 41 Institute Road Eccleshill have three sons, one son-in-law and six nephews with the colours… “Cpl Thomas Cross, son-in-law, has been in the army 16 years and went through the Boer war for which he received two medals and five bars. “He had been stationed at Malta
three years with the 2nd West Yorks when war was declared and was immediately ordered to France. “Having done more than a ‘bit’ against the Germans – for he had been in several engagements where the bayonet had had to be used – he was granted leave to visit is home at 64 Institute Road, Eccleshill. “He narrowly escaped death on at least one occasion. On leaving his dug-out to speak to a comrade, a shell dropped into the dug-out he had just vacated. “Cpl Cross is again in the trenches, adding to his reputation as fighting man. One of his nephews has been severely wounded.” Obituary Thomas died on 5 December 1920 in St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford, and the paper published this obituary on the 17th: “The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon of Sgt Thomas Cross, late of 21A Stoney Lane. “Though only 39 years of age, he was a veteran in war service. He enlisted in the 2nd West Yorks when 18 years of age and spent 20 years of his life in the army. “He went through the Boer War, obtaining two medals and five bars. On the outbreak of the great war he was stationed at Malta and his regiment was despatched to the
front and took part in the heavy fighting in the early stages of the war. “Sgt Cross passed through the whole of the four years’ war without ever being wounded but contracted trench fever and septic poisoning. “He was granted the Mons Star and the later medal for his services with the trench mortar battery and was honourably discharged on 17 May 1919. “Mr George Ffarmer conducted the service at the home and the body was interred at Idle Parish Church, the curate taking the service. “The chief mourners were Mrs Cross (widow), Miss Alice Cross and Master Thomas Cross (children), Mr David Cross (brother) York, Mrs Freer (sister) York, Mrs D Cross (sister in law) York, Mr F Patchett, Mr and Mrs W B Patchett, Mr and Mrs G Patchett, Mr and Mrs S Patchett, Mr and Mrs Patchett, Mr Redfearn and Mr Griffiths. The West Yorkshire Regt stationed at York sent two representatives in Sgt Summerfield and Band-Sgt Dalby. “Wreaths were sent by the sergeants of the West Yorkshire Regt and another from the staff and patients of No1 Ward, St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford. Others were sent from relatives and friends.”