No.915, Corporal, Thomas PETTITT
Aged 31

1st Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs)
Killed in Action on Sunday, 26th September 1915

Thomas Pettitt CHURCH, born in Wickhambrook in 1892 (Risbridge Q2-1892 4A:713) son of Fanny CHURCH. His mother married Ralph PETTITT in Q2-1892. He seems to have been raised by his grandparents and used the surname PETTITT.

1901 census...Aged 9, he was at Ladies Green, Wickhambrook with his grandfather James PETTITT [66] farmer/dealer, born Wickhambrook; his grandmother Eliza [66] born Chevington; uncle George PETTITT [28] a carrier, born Ousden. His mother Fanny [36] born Wimbish, Cambs and her husband Ralph PETTITT [41] farm labourer born Wickhambrook and their daughters Eliza [7], Alice [5], Fanny [4] and Martha [2] all born in Wickhambrook.

1911 census... Aged 19, single, a coal merchant, now recorded again as Thomas Pettitt CHURCH, he was at Lady's Green, Ousden with his widower grandfather and uncle George. Eliza [66] His parents were at Lady Green with Eliza, Martha, Amelia [10], Frank [8],Edward [6] and William [3]. Interestingly both families entered Ousden as their address on the census form

He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds, from his number it was around 1912. It seems most likely he qualified for the Old Contemptible clasp to his 1914 Star, but he died before that award was instituted and it had to be claimed by the man or his next of kin.
The 1st Seaforths arrived in France in October 1914 and left for Mesopotamia in December 1915. The 7th and 8th battalions were heavily involved in the battle of Loos, losing many men on the 25th, but the 1st battalion would appear to have been in reserves further north. They lost just two men on the 26th September.

photo courtesy of Alexander Rocos, grandson of his sister Amelia

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo:Rodney Gibson

Thomas Pettitt is buried in Rue du Bacquerot No.1, Laventie, grave 2:B:12
and also commemorated on the Wickhambrook war memorial

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details