Appeal for information on Worcester soldier who died in the First World War

Cotswold Journal: Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension Number One in The Somme, where Thomas Rea is buried Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension Number One in The Somme, where Thomas Rea is buried

AS THE centenary of the First World War approaches, an appeal has been made to track down descendants of a Worcester soldier who gave his life for his country.

Thomas Rea was born in 1889 in the Claines area of the city and enlisted with B Squadron, 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars, First Cavalry Brigade, First Cavalry Division on the outbreak of war but died on June 7 1917 aged 28.

David Easton is writing a roll of honour for those who served with the regiment during the war and is appealing for anyone descended from Thomas Rea or who has more information about him to contact him.

Thomas was born to parents John and Phyllis Rea and was the younger brother of Phillis, John and Beatrice. He later became older brother to Grace, Earnest, Kate, Norah, Charles and Aubrey.

By 1911 the family had moved to Blakefield Road in St John's where Thomas found employment as an under gardener alongside his father.

He enlisted in the regiment soon after war was declared and was posted to France in October 1915.

He was part of a group of 100 reinforcements sent to the front after the regiment fell back to near St Omer following the Battle of Loos, the largest British offensive of the year.

The regiment spent much digging trenches throughout the Western Front over the winter months and at the end of June 1916 participated in the Battle of the Somme, in which more than one million men were killed or injured.

The next year they assisted in railway construction and in April fought in the Arras Offensive, an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to break through the German lines.

Thomas was killed in the first day of the third Battle of Ypres on June 7 1917. It is unknown exactly how he died but it is thought he may have succumbed to wounds, illness or an accident.

During his service he was awarded a 1915 Star, a British War Medal and a Victory Medal.

He was buried at the Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension Number One in The Somme alongside more than 1,300 others.

He is named on war memorials at Worcester Cathedral and St John's Parish Church.

Anyone descended from Thomas Rea or has information about him or his family is asked to contact David Easton, who is writing the 11th Hussars 1914-18 roll of honor.

Mr Easton can be contacted on 07896 201 176 or husrollho@yahoo.co.uk

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