Soldiers died and the CWGC state that Thomas was born and had lived and enlisted at Tunstall. No service records can be found for Thomas and we do not have an age at death. From census records it would seem that there were three men named ‘Thomas Meir’ born in the North Staffordshire area between 1890 and 1895. The most likely Thomas was the son of William and Harriet (née Price). In 1891 they were living at Union Street in Tunstall. By 1911 the family resided at 58, Sun Street, Tunstall and in this census Thomas was described as a pottery placer born in Tunstall. Connections to Brindley Ford remain undiscovered.
His medal card shows that he served in the 2nd battalion Royal Fusiliers. This battalion arrived in England in December 1914 after seeing service in India. It is unknown when Thomas joined the battalion, however his medal card records that he served in Gallipoli from August 3rd 1915. This was when the 2nd Royal Fusiliers were attached to the 86th Brigade, 29th Division.
The division served in the Dardanelles until evacuated to Egypt in January 1916 following the end of hostilities. The following month the division sailed through the Mediterranean and arrived at Marseilles in March 1916. The division then travelled north through France to their Flanders assembly area at Pont Remy – which they reached by the 29th.
At some point Thomas transferred to the 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, 18th Division. Without service records the date is unknown, nevertheless, both battalions have a similar military record and served in the Battle of the Somme from July 1916. The battalion were in action at Albert, Transley, Delville Wood and Thiepval Ridge. The following year the brave Fusiliers saw further action on the Hindenburg Line, and in the Arras Offensive.
From July 1917 the Third Battle of Ypres was their battleground with the abysmal conditions of the Salient. Inevitably the battalion sustained heavy losses during the capture of Westhoek Ridge and on August 10th 1917 Thomas sadly fell in battle. Private Thomas Meir has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres. At home he is remembered on the Brindley Ford and Tunstall memorials.
Michael Turnock and Elaine Heathcote.