Alderson T.W.


201067, Private Thomas Alderson, 19th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry was killed in action 1 October 1918 and is buried at Perth Cemetery (China Wall) near Ypres, Belgium.[1]  He was 26 years old and is commemorated on the Cockfield and Butterknowle War Memorials.[2]

Family Details

Thomas was born in 1892 [3] at Brignall, North Yorkshire to Luke and Sarah Alderson.  [4]  There were at least 5 children:

  • Amos bc.1888 at Brignall
  • Dorothy Alice bc.1890 at Brignall
  • Thomas born 1892 at Brignall
  • Pollie bc.1894 at Butterknowle/Woodland
  • John Willie bc.1896 at Woodland

Thomas’ father Luke was born at Arkengarthdale, a lead mining area to the north of Swaledale in the North Riding of Yorkshire and Sarah at Mickleton- in-Teesdale on the Yorkshire side of the river Tees.  In 1901 the family lived at Potters Cross in the Parish of Lynesack & Softley where Luke was employed as a colliery joiner.  By 1911, Thomas’ mother Sarah had died, [5] Luke worked as a colliery joiner and 21 year old daughter Dorothy Alice was at home, presumably looking after the house.  Thomas aged 19 worked as a coal miner (putter) and brother, John Willie aged 15, was a cartman.  The family lived at 3 Gaunless Terrace, Copley.[6]

6 August 1913, Thomas married Edith Blackett at Lynesack Parish Church[7] and they had 1 child, Eva born 8 November 1915.[8]

Service Record

8 December 1915: Thomas Alderson attested and joined the Army Reserve.

18 September 1916:  Private T. Alderson was mobilised.[9]  He served with the 5/DLI being allocated the regimental number 10232.[10]   The 5/DLI was formed in August 1914 at Stockton-on-Tees as part of the Yorkshire and Durham Brigade and landed at Boulogne, France 18 May 1915.  It came under the orders of 150th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division then was transferred to the 151st Brigade of the same Division in February 1918.  The 19/DLI was formed as a “Bantam Battalion” meaning that it was for men who did not reach the normal height required by the Army of 5’ 3” – this definition of the battalion ceased January 1917.  At some time later, not researched, he was transferred to the 19th Battalion, DLI and was given the regimental number 201067.

The 19/DLI came under the orders of the 106th Brigade of the 35th Division and landed at Le Havre 1 February 1916.  It was transferred to the 104th Brigade of the same Division, 8 February 1918. [11]

The 104th Brigade included the following units:

  • 17th, Lancashire Fusiliers
  • 18th, Lancashire Fusiliers
  • 20th, Lancashire Fusiliers disbanded February 1918
  • 23rd, Manchester Regiment disbanded February 1918
  • 9th, Northumberland Fusiliers (August 1918 – May 1918)
  • 19th, Durham Light Infantry joined February 1918
  • 104th MGC (April 1916-February 1918)
  • 104th Trench Mortar Battery joined February 1916 [12]

Private Thomas Alderson was killed in action 1 October 1918 when the 35th Division formed part of the 19th Corps of the Second Army and saw action in the Fifth Battle of Ypres, 28 September – 2 October 1918 as part of the Final Advance into Flanders.[13]

The Fifth Battle of Ypres: a summary

The attack commenced 28 September at 5.30am with 12 Belgian Divisions, 10 British Divisions of the Second Army and 6 French Divisions under the command of King Albert I of Belgium.  The British attacked on a 4½ mile front up to the Ypres-Zonnebeke road from where the Belgians attack on the line north to Dixmude.  The Allied offensive penetrated up to 6 miles and much of the ground west of Passchendaele was recaptured and by the evening the British had taken Kortewilde, Zandvoorte, Kruiseecke and Becelaere.  By 30 September all the high ground around Ypres had been taken by the allies.  By 1 October the left bank of the Lys had been captured up to Comines and the Belgians were beyond Dixmude.  The advance continued into 2 October when German reinforcements arrived.  During this battle, the British suffered 4,695 casualties but the Allies had advanced up to 18 miles, captured around 10,000 German soldiers, 300 guns and 600 machine-guns. [14]

19/DLI: in action

As part of the 104th Brigade, 19/DLI took up the advance on the evening of 30 September.  With 18/Lancashire Fusiliers on the right they advanced to pierce the well defended switch line running north east to Gheluwe on the Menin road.  German machine-guns held up both battalions.

1 October:  at dawn, another attempt was made but the pill-boxes were too strong, advance posts were established.  German shell-fire increased and the 19/DLI suffered a heavy bombardment and the battalion was relieved by 17/Lancashire Fusiliers in the evening.  Since the beginning of the operations, 2 officers were wounded and losses in the ranks amounted to 141. [15]  Later research confirms that there were 13 other ranks serving with 19/DLI who were killed in action 1 October including Private T. Alderson.  2 Other Ranks died of wounds 2 October and 1Other Rank died of wounds 3 October 1918.  No officers died on these dates. [16]

Private T. Alderson was awarded the British War and Victory medals.[17]  His effects were issued to his widow Mrs. Edith Alderson.[18]


201067 Private T. Alderson is buried at grave reference II.J.4 Perth Cemetery (China Wall) near Ypres, Belgium.  He was originally buried elsewhere and was re-interred here.  There are 2791 burials.[19]


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] Note: the Cockfield War Memorial records “Alderson Thomas W.” and the Butterknowle WM records “T.W. Alderson” but a “T.W.” living locally cannot be traced thus we assume that Thomas Alderson is the correct soldier.

[3] England & Wales Birth Index Vol.9b p.679 – Yorkshire North Riding, Reeth Q3 1892

[4] 1901 census

[5] Either Q1 1908 registered at Reeth or Q1 1909 registered at Auckland

[6] 1911 census

[7] England & Wales Marriage Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.420 Auckland 1913 Q3 and Paul Simpson

[8] England & Wales Birth Index 1915-2005 Vol.10a p.460 Auckland 1915 Q4 and Paul Simpson

[9] Research by Paul Simpson

[10] Medal Roll card index





[15] “The Durham Forces in the Field 1914-18: The Service Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry” Capt. W. Miles 1920 p.345

[16] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[17] Medal Roll card index

[18] UK Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929

[19] Commonwealth War Graves Commission



ALDERSON T. Medal Roll

Medal Roll

ALDERSON T. Headstone



2 thoughts on “Alderson T.W.

  1. Pingback: COCKFIELD | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

  2. Pingback: BUTTERKNOWLE | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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