Date of Death:07/07/1915
Grave Ref:Panel 33
Thomas Noone's inscription on the Menin Gate
The other men killed on the same day as Thomas were:
ACKRILL WILLIAM Private 6631 from Hereford
BARBER HERBERT 42 Private 5665 from Oldham.Boer War veteran
BARTON JOHN Private 9550 born Manchester, lived Southport
BELLINGER HENRY Private 3400 born Gloucester, lived London
BENSON PETER 38 Private 9824 from Liverpool
BERRY JOHN Serjeant 3313 from Wigan
BINGHAM WILLIAM 34 Private 19495 from Manchester
BRINDLE ALFRED Private 9747 born Salford
BROWN JAMES Private 5191 from Manchester
CAREY JOHN Private 3452 from Manchester
CHARLESTON FREDERICK Lieutenant
CLARKE WILLIAM 46 Private 5928 from Salford.Boer War veteran
CRANE JOHN Private 6056 born Blackpool,enlisted Barrow
CROSS EDWARD Private 6712 from Manchester
CROSTON GEORGE Corporal 8230 from Preston
DAVEY GEORGE 20 Private 3913 from Salford
DAVIES CHARLES 28 Private 4726 born Middleton
DAVIES THOMAS Private 9541 from Prescot
DENNETT JAMES Serjeant 7975 from Todmorden
DOBSON THOMAS 30 Private 9686 from Bury
DOWNING JOHN 30 Private 13615 from Manchester
FALKINGHAM HERBERT Private 13821 born London,enlisted Mexborough
FISHER JAMES 29 Private 9028 from Manchester
FLOOD THOMAS Private 13307 born Widnes
FORESTER HAROLD 19 Private 7920 from Manchester
GEVERS JOHN Private 4823 from Widnes
GREENHALGH SAMUEL 39 Private 4858 from Oldham
GUNNING THOMAS Private 2925 born Salford
HASLAM EDWARD Private 4145 from Bolton
HASSALL JOSEPH 36 Lance Corporal 5305 from Manchester
HIBBERT JOHN 29 Private 5199 from Ashton-under-Lyne
HIGHTON JOHN Private 4700 born Oldham, lived Manchester
HOLCROFT CHARLES 19 Private 4499 from Wigan
HORAN THOMAS 40 Private 4620 from Ireland, lived Manchester
KEALEY JOHN Private 3767 born Northumberland, enlisted Blackburn
KEEFE WILLIAM 44 Private 9096 from Salford
LANCASTER JOHN Private 6014 born Pemberton, enlisted Atherton
LITTLEWOOD HENRY 46 Private 4068 from Manchester
LOWES THOMAS Private 7214 born Accrington, enlisted Wigton
LYONS PHILIP 21 Private 4425 from Manchester
MARNEY JOHN 27 Private 3834 from Manchester
MOLYNEAUX ALFRED 36 Private 6894 from Preston.Boer War Veteran.
MONAGHAN JOHN Private 4801 from Manchester
MONAGHAN PATRICK Private 9820 born Leigh
MULLARD EDWARD Lance Corporal 3233 born Manchester, lived Southport
O'GRADY THOMAS 29 Private 2843 from Middlewich
OAKDEN ARTHUR Private 9929 enlisted Manchester
PAGE THOMAS Private 3327 from Golborne
PRESCOTT CHARLES 40 Corporal 4541 from Wigan
RICHARDSON ARTHUR Private 3141 from Manchester
RILEY JOHN Private 4598 born Patricroft
RILEY WILLIAM Private 17158 born Crawshawbooth, Lancs
SHAW JOHN 49 Private 4597 from Manchester. Boer War veteran
STEWART JOHN 33 Private 5484 from Manchester
STODDART CHARLES 37 Private 2635 from Shipley
TAYLOR HENRY 40 Private 4769 from Burnley
TAYLOR WILLIAM Private 4369 from Oldham
THOMAS WILLIAM 31 Private 3882 from Manchester
TRAVERSE HERBERT Private 5339 from St Helens
WHELAN DANIEL Private 2756 from Manchester
WHELAN JOHN 34 Private 18233 from Manchester
WHITESIDE ERNEST 27 Private 1020 from Blackpool
Thomas Noone was born in Manchester.In 1883 to parents Michael, a market porter originally from Tuam in Ireland, and Bridget.Thomas' siblings that we've found are Mary, Michael, James, Margaret,Teddy, John & Joseph. Tragically Bridget died in 1898 at the age of 38 leaving Michael snr with 8 children to bring up alone. Thomas then disappears from the historical record for a while, the siblings seem to have been scattered around various families.What is known is that he had served in the King's Regiment at some point so perhaps he was serving overseas by the time of the 1901 census. By 1909 though he and several of his siblings were in the Royton area. Thomas worked in the goods yard at Royton railway station. In 1909 he married Ellen Holt and his brother Joseph married Jane Holt, most probably either sisters or cousins. Thomas & Ellen had three children ; Thomas (born 1910), John (1913) and James (1915). James was born on September 2nd, nearly two months after his father's death. They lived at 26 Downing Street in 1911 and by the time of the war had moved to Dyehouses off Sandy Lane. Near neighbours in the row of cottages were Richard Mannion and John Saxon.
The outbreak of war saw Thomas join the Lancashire Fusiliers, his brother Joseph obviously joining the same day - their service numbers only being six apart. Joseph was shortly after dismissed as being physically unfit for service (he later rejoined the army and died in 1918, see entry above). Around the same time brother John also joined the Lancashire Fusiliers, spending just under a year with the 12th Battalion before also being discharged as being unfit for duty.
Thomas got to France on January 26th 1915 as a fresh draft to the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers who had been on the Western Front , and oft in action, since August 1914. Royton man Harry Turner had been killed whilst serving with them back in September.
From when Thomas joined them up until the end of April the lot of the unit was "the daily round,the common task", in wet and cold conditions. Incidents of note were a German attack on the night of 19th/20th February near Le Touquet which was succesfully fought off. In the same area in April a mine was put in position underneath the enemy lines opposite the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers which caused heavy casualties amongst the German troops there.
The battalion then suffered their first gas attack on May 2nd during the Second Battle of Ypres. The Germans had first used this deadly new weapon on April 22nd on nearby French troops.Thomas was injured and had to be hospitalised,he spent time at Rouen before being sent back to the front. The attack of May 2nd resulted in many hundreds of casualties. 'Only' 14 men are listed as being killed that day but many hundreds more succumbed to the effects of the gas. Thomas and his comrades did not have gas masks but had to try to breath through dampened material - be that a handkerchief, a cotton pad, a sock etc.
The start of the day had seen the battalion manned by 33 officers and 1070 other ranks. By the end of the day there were 8 officers and about 80 other ranks desperately trying to give the impression that the line was still held by moving up and down the front trenches firing off their rifles. They succeeded in that aim.
One of the men coming out of the line during the day wrote:
"We must have been pitiable objects, spitting, coughing and dripping wet; our faces blue with cold and the results of the gas; our clothes in a filthy condition; nearly everyone being helped along, and all shambling like old men, but still trying hard to hold our heads up, having faced the worst invention of German warfare and conquered it."
The battalion again faced a gas attack in late May but better prepared they suffered far less casualties.
Between July 6th and 8th they were in action around Pilckem suffering casualties of 17 officers and 380 other ranks.
The attack was planned as a distraction from other operations going on nearby but these latter plans were cancelled but the attack of the 12th Brigade (& others) wasn't. The local commanders then suggested that to carry on was futile and the attack would involve heavy casualties, they were overruled by Second Army Headquarters. The 12th Brigade's attack was launched by the 1st Rifle Brigade and the 1st Somerset Light Infantry with the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers held in reserve. The attack was succesful but they were then subject to artillery fire and three German counterattacks throughout the day. The night of the 6th/7th it was decided to withdraw the Rifle Brigade & Somerset men and replace them in the front line with the Lancashire Fusiliers and also men of the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Thomas Noone and his comrades had taken their places by 3am on the morning of the 7th. At midday heavy shelling began and a German counterattack which was fought off. There was another German attempt to dislodge the Lancastrians at 3pm which was again fought off. A sap - which was a small trench dug out into no mans land in the direction of the German trenches - was occupied by both British & German soldiers and a deadly fight went on with grenades. A further expected counterattack at 6pm did not materialise and the day's battle petered out with intermittent shelling on the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers' positions.
The CWGC has 63 Lancashire Fusiliers listed as being killed there that day, Thomas Noone was one of them. He was to die in the evening, in what was a lull in the fighting, shot in the head.
A friend of Noone's from Royton, Private Thomas Doyle(4299), wrote to Ellen Noone back home:
"it was shortly after dinner,and as I was passing him I asked him how things were going with him and he said "all right".I had only gone a few feet past him when I heard somebody shout "oh!", and on looking round I saw your husband falling.I rushed up and found he'd been shot through the head.It will be little consolation for you to know that he died almost immediately....he will be sadly missed by all the boys because he used to be so cheerful and would pass a joke when there were shells flying all around us,and used to the life of the platoon at all times"
Ellen received two other letters also telling her how Thomas had died, one from Corporals GW Anderton (4730) & David West (5068) and another letter from Private J.A Hogan(6804). David West, by then a Sergeant, was to be killed himself in 1917.