Born: February 1893
Address: 6 Moorside Road, Eccleshill
Parents: Peter Simpson Firth
Occupation: Apprentice motor mechanic
Rank: Pte
Rolls of Honour:
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Thomas Simpson Firth
Emotional roller-coaster for the Firth family
It is hard to imagine the emotions that hit the Firth family over a two week period in October 1914. They had already been told their son Thomas was missing, then on 14 October this appeared in the Shipley Times & Express: It will be safe to assert that the present war will affect every city town and village in the British Isles. Some homes will be made glad by the return of loved ones who have bravely fought for home and country but others must mourn the loss of loved ones who have fought and died and have filled a nameless grave. Such a loss has been sustained by Mr and Mrs Peter Simpson Firth of 6 Moorside Road, Eccleshill. Rocking chair When our representative called to confirm the report that had been circulated the mother was nursing her grief in the rocking chair and the eldest daughter was trying to read the latest news through her tears but just outside the home her younger brother was evidently training for the front, for his fists were itching to be at the nose of
another lad bigger than himself. Mr and Mrs Firth were notified over a month ago that their son was “missing” but it was not till Wednesday morning this week they received the sad news that Pte Thomas Simpson Firth was killed in action at Mons on August 25. His father said: “He woke up a soldier on his eighteenth birthday for he went and joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.” Up to the outbreak of the war he had been stationed at Portobello Barracks, Ireland, but was among the first to be drafted to the scene of hostilities. Before enlisting he had been apprentice to the motor car trade but the call of the bugle had been stronger than the hoot of the motor. It is interesting to note that when Hackensmich was fulfilling his engagements at the Empire he paid
visits to the Ravenscliffe Links to play golf and “Tom” acted as his caddie and was photographed with the famous wrestler. The father related with evident pride that “Tom” never forgot his mother though he was in the army and when he was home on furlough he was always willing to lend a helping hand with anything. Sympathy On a word of sympathy being expressed with him in his loss, Mr Firth said, with a true soldier’s philosophy, “We cannot go and kill a lot of Germans without some of ours being killed.” Mr Firth was formerly a private in the West Riding Regiment and he has another son who is in the Royal Garrison Artillery and has been stationed at Malta three years. The one who passed away on the field of battle was only 21 years of age in February Two weeks later the paper announced:
There was great relief in the Firth family with the news that their son, 21-year-old Thomas Simpson Firth, was still alive. They had received notification from the War Office that he had been killed at Mons on 25 August, with letters of condolence from the Royal Family and Lord Kitchener. But now they had received a postcard from Thomas, dated 24 October, saying that he was a prisoner of war in Germany. He said he was being well looked after and asked for some clothing to be sent to him. We hear again from Thomas in April 1915 when he wrote to a former teacher: “Allow me to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the welcome gifts you have sent me. I assure you we need them and I shall feel pleased if any of your friends care to send anything on. “I shall make it an important duty when come home to call and thank you for your kindness. I shall be glad to hear from you or your friends any time.”
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