A Soldier of the Regular Army
A bruised reed he shall not break6
As the late Victorian era neared its end, the old town* of Wolverhampton was thriving. Its once miserable dependency on the old dirt tracks for transportation had been replaced by the canal; with its many wharves and basins, where goods and raw materials could be easily loaded and unloaded, industry and commerce were flourishing21.
It was here, far from “sparsely populated” Cockshutt, where its “years move(d) along tranquilly, unstartled by the sensation of innovation”34, that Thomas Lloyd was born in c189419, the third child2 of parents Emma and Thomas Lloyd1. It was a life destined to be dominated by poverty. Although industry was booming, and work plentiful, Thomas’s Father was simply a General Labourer2; on his weekly pay of less than fifteen shillings37, he would have struggled to support his family, and, as Thomas grew up, he would have been expected to carry out any available chores, for the odd penny, such as carrying messages between barge owners39.
By the time he was six3, Thomas found himself having to cope with considerable upheaval; the family’s move back to Shropshire, and the untimely death of his Mother, Emma20; in the aftermath which followed, he appears to have been looked after by her family in Shropshire3, where, after leaving school, he found employment as a Groom3 in the “quiet content”34 of Cockshutt3.
In late 19118, Thomas’s life changed course yet again. Now living in Llanymynech43, he enlisted as a Regular Soldier with 1st Battalion, KSLI43. Based for much of the time at Tipperary, the Battalion was mobilized for active service4 on the declaration of war; on 10th September 191410, Private T Lloyd 989314 entered the Western Front Theatre of War10.
Thomas’s war lasted just six weeks; but it was one of brutality, violence, pain and immeasurable loss. From the outset, the 1st KSLI was engaged in fierce fighting; the final stages of Battle of the Aisne25, now recognised as “the root of trench warfare32”, followed by vicious fighting in the Battle of Langemarck9, part of the First Battle of Ypres25.
Private Thomas Lloyd was Killed in Action on 22nd October 191414. “Denied the Known and Honoured Burial Given to Others in Death”14, he is Remembered with Honour on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium (fondly known by the Tommies as “Plug Street”). He was posthumously awarded the 1914 Star, The British War Medal and The Victory Medal10.
Thomas Lloyd is Remembered with Honour on the Llanymynech War Memorial23. His name also appears on the Roll of Honour27 inside the Church of Ss Simon & Jude. Whilst the 1922 Shropshire Roll of Honour clearly identifies him as one of the names included on our Memorial30, his name is, for the time being, missing. We can only surmise the reasons for the omission, but, as with many others, it was probably a case of simple oversight and his next of kin couldn’t be located (his Father had in fact moved to Hereford14).
As with countless others, Thomas Lloyd, the “pleasant-faced youth”43, had endured and overcome a young life overshadowed by heartbreak and adversity. By enlisting in the Regular Army, it could be argued that he chose his own destiny; but the brutality and carnage in which his bright future was stolen, could never have been foreseen.
Thomas Lloyd was the first of “Our Boys” to be killed in the Great War.
We Will Remember Him.LLOYD_THOMAS
Private Thomas Lloyd, 9893, 1st Bn. King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.
Killed in action in Belgium on 22nd October 1914.
Remembered on Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. Panel 8.
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died…
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought …42