Name: Thomas William Stanfield
DoB: December 20 1890
Regt: Private Durham Light infantry; 2nd Lieut., Yorkshire Regt. 18/384
DoD: November 23 1917
Academic Career: CGS 1906-10
Thomas was the son of George and Janet Stanfield, 42 Beaconsfield Street. In the 1891 Census when Thomas was just a baby his family was living in Maryport, where his father, originally from Levenshulme, was a boiler and engine fitter. His mother (née Armstrong) was from Scotland and he had older sisters Elizabeth, Mary Annie, Lena, and Margaret Isabella and a brother George.
When he was killed it was reported that his parents were living at 7 Gardenia Street, Currock , Carlisle and that he was the husband of Minnie Ross Stanfield whom he married just a few weeks before he was killed. She died four years later age 28.
After leaving the grammar school he went to Southampton Training Coll., 1910-2. And then became an assistant master, Peases West Council School, Crook County Durham.
Thomas was initially a private in the Durham Light Infantry. In 1916 it was reported in the Carliol that he had been awarded a Military Medal for “carrying an important message through shell fire”. It appears he was also wounded in France on July 26th 1916.
The Cumberland News concurs that he won the Military Medal for gallantry on the Somme where he was also wounded.
The following account is taken from A Memorial Roll of the Officers of Alexandra Princess of Wales Own Yorkshire Regiment Who Died 1914 – 1919 compiled by Robert Coulson.
“He initially served in the ranks of the Durham Light Infantry before receiving his commission and joining the Yorkshire Regiment.
Serving with the 13th Battalion in November of 1917, the early part of the month was spent at Barly where “A very pleasant time was spent amongst ideal surroundings”. 2nd Lt Stanfield and the battalion were then ordered up to be ready for the Cambrai Operations. During the night of November 21/22 the battalion marched up to Beaumetz-les-Cambrais and from there moved into captured German trenches near Graincourt. At zero hour 10.00am on 23 November, 2nd Lt Stanfield and his men advanced towards their objective of Bourlon Wood and village, following the tanks. Bitter fighting ensued which at times was hand to hand in the village and by 3-00pm the Germans had given up on the position and began a heavy and sustained bombardment. 2nd Lt Thomas William Stanfield was killed in this action on November 23 1917 at the age of 26.
The Cumberland News reported he was shot by a sniper “while gallantly leading his men in a successful attack on a strong enemy position”.
The Colonel wrote: “In him we lose a very gallant officer and a dear comrade”. The Chaplain said: “We had all learned to love your husband. He was very popular with officers and men, and his strong, fine character was a great asset to the regiment. I shall not soon forget the last two Sundays. On the first of the two I held a short service in camp, and your husband stood by my side singing very heartily. On the second Sunday I stood by his side under the stars and laid him to rest. It was a sad privilege to do this last service for him.”. Another officer described his: “manly, steadfast courage: his kindly, earnest character: and his general efficiency as a brave an gallant officer”.
His grave can be seen today in Anneux British Cemetery to the south east of Arras on the Cambrai to Bapaume Road.”. [/toggle]
Durham Light Infantry and Yorkshire Regiment
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: 1841: HO107/538/3
1891 RG12/ 4309
1911 RG RG14/5971
c) A Memorial Roll of the Officers of Alexandra Princess of Wales Own
Yorkshire Regiment Who Died 1914 – 1919.
Compiled by Robert Coulson
d) British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
e) The Carliol 1916
f) The Cumberland News December 8 1917