THOMAS FLETCHER 

Rank: Private
Service Number:241152.
Regiment: 10th Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Died of wounds Sunday 24th March 1918
Age Unknown
FromFrodsham.
County Memorial Frodsham
Commemorated\Buried Arras Memorial
Grave\Panel Ref: Bay 5 and 6.
CountryFrance

Thomas's Story.

Thomas was the oldest child of Thomas, a grocers carter,  and Mary Fletcher, born in 1898, he had a younger brother, John William, who was 6 years his younger. 
Thomas in 1911 was employed as an office boy and lived with his parents on Church Street. 
Tom had won a Cheshire County Scholarship from the Frodsham Endowed Boys School and was working for the Railway Company at Frodsham Station before joining the Army in April 1915. 
Thomas is having recorded as dying from his wounds on 24th March 1918 and had no known grave. 

The period of his death is the start of the Spring German Offensive, and the 10th and 11th Battalions were in the thick of it. The attack was not unexpected, but the ferocity of it caught the allies off guard. 

On the 21st March at 6am, the battalion was ordered to Fremicourt, and moved on to the "Army Line" which ran from Beugny to Behagnies and occupied about 1000 yards of front. Two companies held the front line with two in support. During the morning of the 22nd , the battalion was subjected to intermittent shell fire. 
About 5pm, the troops in Vaulx withdrew whilst under strong attacks and came into the army line and reorganized by officiers of the 10th. The night was quiet.

On the 23rd at about 9.30am, the enemy attempted a surprise attack on the left, which failed due to rifle and machine gun fire. At 3.15pm, after an hour and a quarter of terrific barrage fire, the enemy attacked in four waves, but not a single German reached the trenches. The attack was repeated later on, but with no supporting artillery fire the Cheshires still managed to repel the enemy. 

During the night of 23rd and 24th, the enemy dug themselves in, in front of the Cheshires trenches even when under rifle and mortar fire. 

The Cheshires arranged to repel the germans attack, three British Divisions were opposing the thrust of eight German Divisions. 

On the 24th, the 10th were still repulsing many german attacks, and numerous casualties were sustained. However, a large attack was launched in the afternoon and the Cheshires had to retreat. Firing and retiring slowly, and losing heavily, the battalion fell back to Favreuil. By now the battalion was thoroughly disorganized, many company commaders and officiers had become casualties. 

Casualty Figures

Officers Killed 1 Wounder 12 Missing 1
Other Ranks Killed 19 Wounded 108 Missing 101


Thomas as one of these casualties.  

Compiled by Graeme Ainsworth with additonal information from St Laurence Remembers The Great War 1914 - 1918