CWG: Rifleman Tom Clements

Rifleman Tom Clements

Thomas Clements was born in St Helen’s, Lancashire in 1877. He was the youngest of ten children to George Clements and his wife Martha.

George worked as an engine fitter, and he seems to have follow the work wherever it went – consecutive censuses list him in Middlesex, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, although he disappears from 1891 onwards.

Thomas lived with the family up until his mother’s death in 1911, mainly in Burnley, Lancashire, where he worked as a grocer’s assistant. The last available census shows him living in the Salvation Army Home in Chorlton-upon-Medlock, to the south of Manchester city centre.

Tom’s military records are sparse – he enlisted in the 6th (Reserve) Battalion King’s Royal Rifles, who were based in Sheerness, Kent, for the entirety of the conflict. It is unlikely, therefore, that Rifleman Clements saw active service on the Western Front.

Sadly, the cause of Tom’s death is also absent from the records. He does not appear in any contemporary newspapers, so it is seems likely that he succumbed, as many did, to some form of illness, perhaps influenza or pneumonia. The Register of Soldier’s Effects give his next of kin as his father, George; the latest information on him was that he was an inmate of the Union Workhouse in Burnley, Lancashire.

Rifleman Clements died on 14th June 1915; he was 37 years old. He lies at rest in the graveyard of All Saints Church, Iwade in Kent, presumably close to where he was based, in Sittingbourne.

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