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Thomas Henry Tiffin

Birth

Thomas Henry Tiffin was born on May 29, 1893 to Thomas and Elizabeth Tiffin (née Mattinson) in Carlisle, Cumbria. They lived at 7 Howe Street, in Carlisle.

Early Life

Thomas was the youngest son of four. Thomas’ brother William died (aged 22) and his other brother, Frederick, emigrated to Australia. Thomas senior was a Relieving Officer, which meant the poor and destitute had to apply to him if they wanted to receive poor relief. It would have been his job to assess each claim and report to the Poor Law Guardians. Both Thomas and Elizabeth’s families came from the Caldbeck area. The Tiffins were farm labourers and miners. Thomas and Sarah Mattinson ran the Red Lion at Castle Sowerby for many years.

Thomas junior attended the Grammar School as a day pupil, before attending Chester College. One of his brothers, John James, also attended the Grammar School, and he trained to be a Teacher at St. Mark’s College, in London. He too served in World War One and survived the war to pursue a teaching career.

At school, Thomas was a great sportsman. He won prizes for cricket ball throwing, high jump, broad jump, and played for the cricket, rugby and football teams. He also won the half-mile running race and the 300-yard dash. He shone on the cricket field where he was a good bowler and was described in the Carliol Magazine as “a natural bat with a wonderful stroke to leg.”

Chester College

Thomas enrolled at Chester College on February 10, 1912. His prowess on the sports fields continued as in 1912 at Chester College, he represented the College at rugby and was elected captain for the following year’s cricket season.

Military Service

Thomas joined the 8th Battalion of the Border Regt as a Private, but the exact date of his enlistment is unknown. The Battalion wasn’t mobilised for war until September 27, 1915. On July 1, 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. On July 2/3, nearly 450 of their number were killed at Martinsaart Wood near Thiepval. They then had a week in the reserve line of trenches. Between the July 8 and 12, the Battalion was gradually deployed to the front line. On July 13 and 14, they attacked the German line at Ovillers.

Lest We Forget

On July 15, 1916, Thomas was killed in action in the trenches at Ovillers. It was later that same day that the Cheshire Regiment relieved them.

Post Mortem

Thomas was awarded the British War and Victory Medals for service to King and country. He is remembered at Thiepval Memorial, in France.