Thomas Henry Biscombe (1892-1917)
Private Thomas Henry Eslick (Henry Thomas in military records) was born in 1892 in Crantock, Cornwall, the son of William Biscombe and his wife Sarah Jane (maiden name unknown). He was with his parents in the 1901 census and married Florence May Eastlake in 1912 in St Columb, Cornwall. Florence May was the daughter of James George Pascoe Eslick and his wife Emma Vincent. Thomas joined the Devonshire Regiment, 8th Battalion (8th Devons), service number 33334.
Thomas died on 2 April 1917 in France on the Western Front. Like other battalions in this theatre, the 8th Devons had been involved in some of the most well-known battles of the War, including Loos in 1915 and the Somme in 1916. In the Spring of 1917, the 8th Devons along with the 9th Devons were preparing for the Battle of Arras that would officially start on 9 April. On 2 April, the 7th Division’s war diary describes the attack of multiple Allied forces on the village of Longatte, a successful engagement where the Germans were cleared from the village by noontime. However, in a matter of about two weeks of securing Ecoust and Longatte, the 8th Devons lost 6 officers and 112 other ranks with similar losses for the 9th Devons. By the end of the War, the 8th/9th Devons would lose almost 2000 men in France, Belgium and Italy.
Thomas was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He was probably first buried at the Mory-Ecoust Road Cemeteries in Ecoust-St Mein along with 63 other servicemen mostly from the 8th/9th Devons whose graves were later moved to their permanent resting place at H.A.C. Cemetery in Ecoust-St Mein.
‘The 8th and 9th (Service) Battalions The Devonshire Regiment in World War One’, The Keep Military Museum, http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/, [accessed 2 July 2016].
C T Atkinson, The Seventh Division: 1914–1918, accessed at Google Books, https://books.google.com/, [accessed 2 July 2016].
‘UK WWI War Diaries (7th Division)’, Ancestry, http://home.ancestry.co.uk/, [accessed 2 July 2016].
‘H.A.C Cemetery’, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, http://www.cwgc.org/, [accessed 2 July 2016].
‘The Battle of Arras, Apr-May 1917’, Imperial War Museums, © IWM (Q 87756), http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205331438, [accessed 2 July 2016].