CWG: Private Thomas Salter

Private Thomas Salter

Thomas Salter – better known as Tom – was born on 5th June 1877, in the Devon village of Uffculme. He was the only child to John and Selina Salter. John was seventeen years older than his wife and, by the time his son was born, was 57 years old. Selina had been married before and widowed, and had had five children of her own.

When he left school, Tom found work as a butcher’s assistant at the Uffculme’s Commercial Hotel (now the Ostler Inn on Commercial Road). Food was not destined to be his career, however. By the time of the 1901 census, he had moved from Devon to Gloucestershire, and found employment as a labourer in the engine works at Knowle, Bristol.

His landlady was an Elizabeth Bobbett, who had been born in Trull, near Taunton, and this connection may have pre-destined what was to come. In the spring of 1908, Tom married Florence Taylor, a labourer’s daughter from Wellington, Somerset, five miles (8km) from his landlady’s home village.

Tom and Florence settled in Wellington, close to the centre of the town. The had four children – Harold (born in 1909), Evelyn (1912), Irene (1914) and Edna (1916). Tom found work as a packer at the Fox Bros. woollen mill in nearby Tonedale.

War was coming to Europe by this point and, in January 1917, Tom enlisted. Private Salter joined the 11th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry: this was a territorial troop, and Tom found himself based in Yeovil.

There is little concrete information about Private Salter’s military life. All that be confirmed is that within a couple of months of joining up, he had been admitted to hospital, suffering from bronchial pneumonia. Sadly, he was not recover from the lung condition: he passed away on 10th May 1917, at the age of 37 years old.

Tom Salter was brought back to Wellington for burial. He was laid to rest in the town’s cemetery.

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