Bridge of Weir

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8720 Private Thomas James Spink

1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers

killed in action 26th September 1914

aged 26

La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial
St Machar's Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir

Son of John William Spink and Sarah Pricee
Croft Head, Bridge of Weir

His Life

Thomas James Spink was born in first three months of 1888 in Walsall, Staffordshire, the youngest of a family of five known children born to John William Spink, a currier and Sarah Pricee, both from Walsall, Staffordshire, who had married in Walsall in third quarter of 1878.

In 1881 William (21), Sarah (22), and their first child Polly were living at 5 Butts Street, Rushall, Walsall.

In 1891 the Spink family was living at 7 Bank Street, Walsall. William was a leather currier and the children were at school except for young Thomas (3).

In 1901 William Spink, still a leather currier, was boarding with the Walden family in 35 Northampton Road, Walgrave, Northants.

By 1903, John William Spink, journeyman currier, had moved to 4 Windsor Place, Bridge of Weir. On 21st July he married Sarah McDade (43), a millworker from Bridgelinn, Bridge of Weir. John William is recorded as a widower and Thomas Spink was one of the witnesses.

In 1911, Sarah, still a millworker, was living in Burngill, Bridge of Weir, but her husband was not at home on the night of the census. By then, her step-son Thomas had joined the British Army, the only one of the Bridge of Weir fallen to have enlisted before the war. In 1911, aged 24, he was a Private billeted in barracks in South Africa with the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers.

Private Spink was later transferred to the 1st Battalion, which became part of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division of the British Expeditionary Force. He first joined the theatre of war in France on 13th August 1914, nine days after the war began and was involved in the rapid march south from Mons, and in the fringes of the Battle of the Marne before the two opposing armies fought each other to a standstill at the Aisne and dug in for the duration.

The diary of Captain C.J. Paterson, Adjutant is appended to the official War Diaries. The entry for 26th September reads:

The most ghastly day of my life and yet one of the proudest because my Regiment did its job and held on against heavy odds. At 4.15am Germans attacked. Main attack apparently against my regiment, which is the left of our line. D and A Companies in the trenches. B and C hustled up to support, and soon the whole place alive with bullets.

86 men and four officers of the 1st battalion were killed in the engagement, including Thomas Spink. He was the first land casualty on the Bridge of Weir Memorial. His name is also recorded at La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial to the 3,740 officers and men of the British Expeditionary Force who fell at the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne and the Aisne between the end of August and early October 1914 and have no known graves.

By the time of his death, Thomas's family was living in Croft Head, Bridge of Weir.

The Aisne

The engagement where Thomas Spink fell on 26th September 1914. The 1st South Wales Borderers were in the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division, and defended a German attack on the slopes of Mont Faucon.


1881 Census 1891 Census 1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age Name Age Name Age
Polly2 Mary A12Walsall, Staffordshire
Willm E9Walsall, Staffordshire
Hannah6Walsall, Staffordshire
Sarah5Walsall, Staffordshire
Thomas3 Thomas James*24Walsall, Staffordshire

*= not in the family home of John and Sarah Spink - see text for details


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