Thomas Wallace Arnold

Name

Thomas Wallace Arnold

Conflict

First World War

Date of Death / Age

31/07/1917
40

Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Private
269157
Hertfordshire Regiment
1st Bn.
No. 4 Company

Awards

British War and Victory medals

Cemetery/Memorial

YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL
Panel 54 and 56.
Belgium

Headstone

>Not Researched

UK Memorials

4 Co' Hertfordshire Reg' Territorials’ Memorial, Hitchin
St Mary's Church Roll of Honour, Hitchin
St. Martin’s Church Memorial, Knebworth (New)
St. Martin’s Church Roll of Honour, Knebworth (New)
St. Martin’s Church Framed Memorial, Knebworth (New)

Pre War

He was born in Peckham in Surrey, enlisted in Hitchin and his home was in Knebworth. He was the husband of Mary Arnold, who address was recorded as 107, Southwold Rd, Upper Clapton, London.

Wartime Service

His Regimental number was 269157 and he was killed in action in Belgium.

He went missing during the Third Battle of Ypres, or Battle of Passchendaele as it was known. The offensive was launched on 31st July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6th November.

They had marched from Vlamertinge to their assembly position arriving by midnight on the 30th/31st July 1917.

The 1st Hertfordshire Battalion were in support of an attack on the Langemarck Line and a general bombardment of the German lines commenced at 3.45am on the 31st July and and the planned assault began. It had three objectives to achieve known as Blue, Black & Green and units of the 116th Brigade easily captured the first two objectives, preparing the way for the forward companies of the Hertfordshire battalion, to take the third objective. At 05.00am the hertfordshires left their assembly positions to attack their objective, which lay over the crest of a ridge.

As they made their way forward they came under heavy fire from both German machine guns and snipers but after eliminating a German strongpoint moved up towards St.Juliaan, which was only lightly held. The battalion crossed the Steenbeek with some difficulty and two of its supporting Tanks became bogged down in the mud. Things then went from bad to worse. A pre-arranged artillery barrage never materialised due to the guns being unable to move forward over the muddy terrain and the German barbed wire defences, which were fifteen feet deep in some places, were found to still be intact. It was soon realised that ground could only be won by section " rushes" supported by the unit’s own fire.

The Cheshire Regiment were on the right of the battalion but the Black Watch, who were due to cover the left flank, had been seriously delayed. This left the Hertfordshire Regiment seriously exposed and the Germans exploited this by bringing a hurricane of fire down upon the stricken troops. This was followed by a German counter-attack and by 10.30am it was clear that the objective could not be achieved. Casualties were very heavy with 459 men being killed, missing or wounded. Thomas has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium

Acknowledgments

Adrian Dunne, David C Baines, Jonty Wild, Paul Johnson