Name: Thomas Henry Tiffin
DoB: May 29 1893
Regt: Private 23684 Border
DoD: July 15 1916
Academic Career: CGS 1905-11; Chester Training College
Other: Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Tiffin of 7, Howe Street Carlisle
Thomas was the youngest son of four born to Thomas Tiffin and his wife Elizabeth née Mattinson. Thomas was a “relieving officer”, this job meant that it was to him that the poor and destitute had to apply if they wanted to receive poor relief. It would have been his job to assess each claim and report to the Poor Law Guardians. Both Thomas and Elizabeth’s families came from the Caldbeck area. The Tiffins were farm labourers and miners. Thomas and Sarah Mattinson ran the Red Lion at Castle Sowerby for many years. His brother William died aged 22 and brother Frederick emigrated to Australia.
Thomas attended the Grammar school as a day pupil before going to Chester Training College, to train to be a teacher. One of his brothers, John James, also attended the Grammar School, and he trained to be a teacher at St. Mark’s College in London. He too served in WWI and he survived the war to pursue a teaching career.
At school Thomas was a great sportsman. He won prizes for cricket ball throwing, high jump, broad jump, and played for the cricket, Rugby and football teams and won the half mile running race and the 300 yard dash. He shone on the cricket field where he was a good bowler and was described in the Carliol Magazine as “a natural bat with a wonderful stroke to leg“. His prowess on the sports fields continued as in 1912 at Chester training College he represented the college at Rugby and was elected captain for the following year’s cricket season. His exam results at college were not as good; he was bottom in the Christmas 1912 exams!
Thomas joined the 8th Battalion of the Border Regt as a private, but the exact date of his enlistment is unknown. The battalion wasn’t mobilised for war until the 27th September 1915. July 1916 was a costly month for the battalion because on the 2/3 July nearly 450 of their number were killed at Martinsaart Wood near Thiepval. They then had a week in the reserve line of trenches. Between the 8th and the 12th the battalion was gradually deployed to the front line. On the 13th & 14th they attacked the German line at Ovillers. Thomas died on the 15th, the day the Cheshire Regt relieved them.
8th Battalion, The Border Regiment
Neither of Thomas’s surviving brother’s had children so it has not been possible to locate a photograph of him.
1861: RG9/3931; 3903
1871: RG10/5235; 5205
1881: RG11/5154; 95
CGS Memorial Register
8th Border Regt War Diary National Archives WO/95/2251