Reed T.G.

THOMAS G. REED (1894-1917)

14564 Corporal Thomas Gilbert Reed, 19th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry was killed in action 28 July 1918[1] and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium, the Etherley War Memorial and the Roll of Honour in St. Cuthbert’s Church, Etherley.  He was 23 years old and unmarried.

Family Details

Thomas Gilbert was born 1894 [2] the son of Thomas and Ann Reed.  There were at least 7 children:

  • Stephen bc.1884 at Howden-le-Wear
  • Mary Ann bc.1887 at Darlington
  • Isabel Jane bc.1891 at Etherley Dene
  • Ralph W. bc.1894 at Etherley Grange
  • Thomas Gilbert born 1894 at Bishop Auckland
  • Henrietta bc.1897 at Etherley Moor
  • Harold M. bc.1900 at Etherley Moor

In 1901 the family lived at Etherley Moor, Bishop Auckland where 41 year old Thomas worked as a coal miner (hewer) as did his oldest son 17 year old Stephen.[3]  By 1911, the family lived at Etherley Grange and 49 year old Thomas now worked as a farm labourer.  Isabell assisted at home and no description of employment is attributed to 16 year old Thomas Gilbert or 14 year old Henrietta.  Other siblings are not recorded as at this property.[4]  At a later date, Thomas and Ann lived at Front Street, Toft Hill.[5]

Service Details

Thomas Gilbert Reed attested 8 September 1914 aged 20 years 3 months and joined the 14th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry being allocated the regimental number 14/14564.  He was then employed as a farm labourer. [6] He undertook a medical examination 8 September 1914.  He was 5ft 3” tall and weighed 98lbs.[7]  He had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair and considered fit for military service.[8]

The 14th (Service) Battalion was formed at Newcastle in September 1914 as part of K3 Kitchener’s New Army and came under the orders of 64th Brigade, 21st Division.

Corporal T.G. Reed entered France 11 September 1915, landing at Boulogne with the Division.[9]  In November 1915, it was transferred to 18th Brigade 6th Division. [10]  At that time the 18th Brigade comprised the following units:

  • 1st, the West Yorkshire Regiment
  • 1st, the East Yorkshire Regiment left November 1915
  • 2nd, DLI
  • 1/16th, the London Regiment left January 1916
  • 11th, the Essex Regiment
  • 14th, DLI
  • 18th Brigade Machine Gun Company February 1916-March 1918
  • 18th Trench Mortar Battery formed April 1916

15 October 1914: Private T.G. Reed was promoted to Lance Corporal and 3 November 1914, he was promoted to Corporal.[11]

Having seen action in 1914 and August/September 1915 at Hooge, the Division was not involved in any major engagements until the Battle of the Somme 1916, particularly the Battle of Flers-Courcelette 15 – 22 September 1916.[12]

Prior to this, 13 February 1916 Corporal T.G. Reed was wounded.  A gun-shot wound (GSW) to the head resulted in a period in hospital before re-joining his battalion 13 March 1916.  He then suffered with scabies which resulted in another hospitalisation between 15 July and 5 August. Corporal T.G. Reed re-joined his battalion 8 August. [13]

14/DLI saw action at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette between 15 and 22 September and the Battle of Morval 25 – 28 September. [14]  Corporal T.G. Reed was wounded, GSW to the left ankle 28 September.  This wound necessitated transportation back to England for treatment.[15]  The battalion was involved in the Battle of Le Transloy [16] but Corporal T.G. Reed took no part as he was recovering from his wound.  He had served from 11 September 1915 to 5 October 1916, 1 year and 25 days in France then from 6 October 1916 to 21 May 1917, 228 days at home.[17]  Corporal T.G. Reed re-joined his battalion “in the field” 2 June 1917.[18]  He was to serve another year and 68 days in France until he was reported as “missing” 28 July 1918.[19] However, he was to be wounded 31 July 1917 and again 3 November 1917.[20]

The 6th Division including 14/DLI saw action 15 to 25 August 1917 at Hill 70 and between 20 November and 3 December 1917 at Cambrai [21] but whether Corporal T.G. Reed was “in the field” cannot be deciphered.

6 February 1918:  Corporal T.G. Reed was posted to the 19/DLI. [22]  The 19th (Service) Battalion, DLI was formed in Durham in January 1915 and landed at Le Havre France in February 1916.  It was originally a “Bantam Battalion” under the orders of 106th Brigade 35th Division.  It was transferred to the 104th Brigade of the same division in February 1918.[23]  Units serving in this brigade were:

  • 17th, the Lancashire Fusiliers
  • 18th, the Lancashire Fusiliers
  • 9th, the Northumberland Fusiliers left May 1918
  • 19th, DLI
  • 104th Trench Mortar Battery

19/DLI War Diary has not been researched.  The Division was soon to see action as the German Spring Offensive hit the Somme 24-25 March 1918 at the Battle of Bapaume.[24]  19/DLI came south from Ypres 23 March and concentrated around Maricourt in reserve 24 March.  The 35th Division held the line from Curlu to Trones Wood and on the early morning of 25 March the Germans launched a determined attack.  At about 3.00pm 19/DLI was called forward to restore the line around Favieres Wood.  They forced themselves into lost trenches and wrought havoc amongst the retreating Germans as they occupied a position about 200 yards in front of the old line that night.  At 1.00am March 26 orders were received to retire.  The battalion re-joined 104th Brigade at Bray.  The retirement began in the early afternoon under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire.  19/DLI reached Buire then Treux the next day.  Dawn 28 March saw the Germans mount 3 heavy infantry attacks to the south of the village.  The position was maintained under heavy shell fire with little artillery support.  15/Sherwood Foresters relieved 19/DLI after dark.   Casualties in the ranks during these operations reached a total of 100. [25]

4 April: 19/DLI moved up to Bonnay to support the Australians holding the line from Aubigny to Vaire and fighting was heavy during spells in the line.  19/DLI went into reserve 26 April and casualties during this period amounted to 117 killed, wounded and gassed.  1 officer and 126 men reinforced the battalion before it went into the line near Aveluy Wood 29 April. [26]

1 May: 19/DLI withdrew to Hedauville then Toutencourt for training and recreation then went back into the trenches again 29 May, having lost 2 officers, the Quartermaster and 7 casualties in the ranks 2 days before by shellfire at Hedauville. [27] Corporal T.G. Redd suffered another GSW in May 1918 [28] so this action seems the probable cause of the wounds.

1 July: 19/DLI marched to Doullens then entrained for St. Omer and moved to billets at Tilques, moving to a quiet sector of the line – the Locre Sector.

12 July: the first tour to the front commenced and the Germans attempted a raid on a post but were driven off.  [29]

27 July:  night, a raiding party of 28 men from X Company led by Captain Smith MC accomplished a very successful enterprise.  The enemy line was entered at 2 points.  The trenches were full of men, either preparing for an attack or undergoing relief.  In the fierce hand to hand struggle which ensued 20 of the enemy were killed and a machine gun was brought in by Captain J.W. Ryall and his servant.  2 prisoners were taken.  No-one was killed, 2 officers were slightly wounded and there were 21 other casualties.[30]  Corporal T.G. Reed was reported as missing 28 July 1918.[31]  It would seem likely that since he was missing he was recorded as a casualty.

25 August 1919:  Corporal T.G. Reed was “Regarded for Official Purposes as having died” Date of death – 28 July 1918.[32]  Later research records that 2 Other Ranks were killed in action 28 July 1918, Corporal T.G. Reed and 23/337 Private J. Bushby.  75355 Private A. Whittington died of wounds 30 July 1918. [33] Both may have been involved in the raid.

14564 Corporal T.G. Reed has no known grave.  He served a total of 3 years and 324 days [34] and was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals.[35]


Corporal T.G. Reed is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing together with Private J. Bushby and almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are unknown.  The Memorial to the Missing forms the north eastern boundary of the Tyne Cot Cemetery and is one of 4 memorials to those with no known graves in Belgian Flanders.  The memorial was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and unveiled in July 1927. [36]


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10 p.191 Auckland 1894 Q3

[3] 1901 census

[4] 1911 census

[5] Army Form W.5080 & army correspondence

[6] Army Form B.2065

[7] Army Form B.178

[8] Description on Enlistment

[9] Medal Roll and


[11] Statement of the Services


[13] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service


[15]  Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service


[17] Military History Sheet

[18] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service

[19] Military History Sheet

[20] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service & Military History Sheet – details difficult to decipher


[22] Statement of the Services



[25] “The Durham Forces in the Field 1914-1918: the Service Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry” 1920 Capt. W. Miles p.275-277

[26] Miles p.293-294

[27] Miles p.316

[28] Military History Sheet

[29] Miles p.216

[30] Miles p.316-317

[31] Military History Sheet

[32] Army Form B.200 Statement of the Services

[33] SDGW

[34] Military History Sheet

[35] Medal Roll

[36] CWGC




REED T.G. Inscription Tyne Cot Memorial

Tyne Cot Memorial