Trooper Thomas Hays Leigh, 15th/19th Hussars, died April 1945

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by Mark Hone, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    This soldier is one of two former pupils of Bury Grammar School buried at Christ Church, Walshaw. I know a lot about the other, Sergeant/Pilot Edgar Widdows, who was killed in an accident at RAF Chivenor as his aircraft returned from an anti-submarine patrol over the Bay of Biscay. However, I have drawn a blank with Trooper Thomas Leigh. I was under the impression that I had posted about him several years ago on this Forum but could not find anything on the Search facility. As I recall, the information provided then indicated that he had been discharged from the army several months before his death. His burial is recorded on the CWGC database, although like many buried in family plots at home, he has a non-standard headstone. I have come across similar cases from the Great War, including two old boys of our school, who died after being medically discharged but are not given CWGC recognition. One, ex-Lieutenant Harold Ashworth Shaw, Royal Engineers, died only a few weeks after discharge and was a given a funeral with full military honours in another local churchyard. Did the War Graves Commission change its criteria for inclusion between the wars or were there inconsistencies in treatment depending on e.g. notification by families?
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Mark,

    Chris Harley from IFCP is a member here as chrisharley9. Perhaps if you send him a PM to alert him to your post he may be able to answer your query?

  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
    Name: Thomas Heys Leigh
    Death Date: 6 Apr 1945
    Death Place: Lancashire, England
    Probate Date: 8 Dec 1945
    Probate Registry: Manchester, Chester, England

    This might be him - no guarantee though - would need a copy of the certificate
    England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Thomas H Leigh
    Death Age: 20
    Birth Date: abt 1925
    Registration Date: Jun 1945
    Registration district: Bury
    Inferred County: Lancashire
    Volume: 8c
    Page: 394

    The Probate doesnt say died on war service which it normally does, so potentially he died of something not attribitable to active service

    UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current
    Name: Pvt Thomas Heys Leigh
    Birth Date: 1924
    Birth Place: Lancashire, England
    Death Date: 6 Apr 1945
    Death Place: Lancashire, England
    Cemetery: Walshaw Christ Church Churchyard
    Burial or Cremation Place: Bury, Metropolitan Borough of Bury, Greater Manchester, England
    Has Bio?: Y

    I notice from this link he is ranked as Pte [Pvt - I know - dont tell Owen] instead of the OP who ranks him as Tpr. Also note his middle name seems to be spelt 2 ways, so if searching ...........................

    Probably his birth cert details
    England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Thomas H Leigh
    Registration Date: 1924
    Registration district: Bury
    Inferred County: Greater Manchester
    Re-registration Year: 1924
    Mother's Maiden Name: Howard
    Volume Number: 8c
    Page Number: 834



  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Well he is recognised as a CWGC by his inclusion in the database so met the inclusion criteria.
    It was down to family members to decide if they wanted a CWGC headstone or private headstone/included in a family grave or in some cases no headstone at all in the UK
    Example here where the family did not want any form of memorial at all for J.D.Constable Merchant Navy.
    No Headstone Only Turf:Second Engineer Officer J.D.Constable Merchant Navy S.S. Empire Pride (Gla

    As an example of a case this chap Ivor Godwin Moncke was in service in the RAF and contracted TB. Whilst he was recovering he was discharged from the RAF ,a few weeks later he was killed when the hospital he was in was bombed.He is now commemorated as a Civilian casualty not a Military casualty.
    Ivor Godwin-Monck: Casualty 6/12/40

    For the criteria look here
    IFCP - War Grave Criteria

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The CWGC details show that all 4 in that cemetary are looked after by relatives - note Thomas Leigh was cremated not sure about the others on the same Graves Reg Report above, I havent checked them

  6. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Interesting information, thanks. The case of Trooper Leigh forms a particular contrast to one of our Great War dead, Harold Ashworth Shaw, buried not far from Walshaw in the churchyard of the decommissioned Holy Trinity Church, Elton. Harold Shaw enlisted in 1915 and became a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers but was forced to resign his commission due to ill health in February 1916. Exactly two months later, he died and received a military-style funeral at Holy Trinity with Lancashire Fusilier pallbearers and the Last Post sounded at the graveside. However, his burial is not recorded on the CWGC database, despite the proximity of his death to his medical discharge and the two clearly being connected.
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    For information:

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Harold A Shaw
    Death Age: 23
    Birth Date: abt 1893
    Registration Date: Jun 1916
    Registration district: Bury
    Inferred County: Lancashire
    Volume: 8c
    Page: 555

  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    That looks the same as the link I posted about the WW2 chap
    Possibly he had TB or the like and was discharged due to a common illness and not service related
  9. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Tricky Dicky and CL1 like this.
  10. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Well done Mark excellent work

  11. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Leigh Household (3 People)
    6 Owlerbarrow Road, Bury, Lancashire
    Thomas Holt Leigh - 22 Feb 1898 - Paper Mill Technical Repairer [widower]
    Thomas Heys Leigh - 15 Apr 1918 - At School
    Elizabeth A White - 04 Jun 1886 - House Keeper (Paid)

    However, Thomas's original birth date has been altered for some reason:


    The original entry is correct:

    Lancashire Marriages: 1921
    LEIGH Thomas Holt
    HOWARD Millicent Heys
    Walshaw, Christ Church

    Lancashire Births: 1924
    Surname, Forename(s) - Mother's Maiden Name - Sub-District - Registers At
    LEIGH, Thomas Heys - HOWARD - Elton - Bury

    Lancashire Deaths: 1939
    Surname, Forename(s) - Age - Sub-District
    LEIGH, Millicent Heys - 46 - Bury

    Thomas was an only child.
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Interesting - on Ancestry's 1939 Register he couldnt be found so tried his father and for Thomas Heys it states the record is closed ?? - odd

    Harkness which site did you use for access?

    Name: Thomas Holt Leigh
    Gender: Male
    Marital status: Widow
    Birth Date: 22 Feb 1898
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: 6 Owlerbarrow Road
    Residence Place: Bury, Lancashire, England
    Occupation: Paper Mill Technical Rep??
    Schedule Number: 21
    Sub Schedule Number: 1
    Enumeration District: NGBE
    Registration district: 462.1
    Household Members:
    Thomas Holt Leigh
    This record is officially closed.
    Elizabeth A White

  13. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    TD - I used FMP for the 1939 Register entry. I guess it would depend on which birth date they used to determine whether the record should be closed or not. Presumably FMP used the (incorrect) 1918 one.
  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I assume that someone has 'opened the record' as its open in FMP but shows closed in Ancestry - my suspicion is that Ancestry dont give a fig in updating their databases, which in my personal opinion would be typical of them [just in case someone from Ancestry reads this it is my opinion and not the Forums]

    I see that the 1924 date is his real birth date but was interested as to why the 1918 date was written there as well

  15. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Thanks for all of this. I'll compare with the entry on the school's admissions register. I shall also try to locate an obituary for him in the local press, although I've found that the existence of these for World War II is far more hit and miss than for Great War servicemen.
  16. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    The grave of Thomas Heys Leigh at Christ Church, Walshaw, Bury.

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