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Private Thomas Martin

Private Thomas Martin (14141) 5th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment 

Killed on 10th August 1915, aged 29.

Private Thomas MartinHusband of Elizabeth Alice Martin, of 32, Alexandra Terrace, Senghenydd.
Commemorated: Helles Memorial, Turkey & War Memorial Clock, Senghenydd.

Thomas Smith Martin, the son of a plasterer (Thomas Martin Snr.) was born in 1886 and grew up in Gloucester.  His first job aged 15, was a factory worker in the local foundry.  At the age of 21 he married Elizabeth Alice Borrett at St Luke’s The Less Church, Gloucester.  On the marriage certificate his job title was now a collier.

Like many others, with the rise of the South Wales Coalfield, it appears they moved to Senghenydd and are recorded in the 1911 census as living at 32 Alexandra Terrace, Senghenydd.  His occupation is given as a ‘coal hewer’ and more than likely working at the local Universal Colliery as their house was owned by the Lewis Merthyr Consolidated Collieries Ltd.

I can only suppose that my Grandfather survived the 1913 explosion either due to sickness or more than likely he was on a different shift.

When war with Germany was declared they had 4 children: -

1.  Frederick George born 1908.  Better known as George and married Amy Parry
2.  Alice Maud born 1909. My mother who married Frank Clarke
3.  Gladys Phoebe born 1912.  Married Harry Frampton
4.  Ellen Mary born 4th August 1914 (the day Britain declared war with Germany).  Better known as Nell she married George Anderson.

My Gran would have received a weekly ‘Killed In Action’ War Pension for herself and her four children totalling  £1.8s.9d.  (£1- 44p. today).
My mother told me that she and all the other children of the Senghenydd Servicemen killed in WW1 received a small box of ‘Cadbury’s Milk Tray’ chocolates and a brand new penny.  I think this took place at the old Park Cinema, Senghenydd on the Memorial Clock dedication day of 1st March 1921.

It appears, like many others that Thomas Martin joined the army at an early point during the war.   I’m amazed that he voluntarily joined while having a wife and 4 children (all aged under 6) to support and, even when conscription arrived, he was in a ‘reserved occupation’.  
The exact date he joined the army is not known but a history of the 5th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment provides the following: -

Service in 5th Battalion: 

August 1914 Formed at Devizes as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Assaye Barracks, Tidworth as part of the 3th Division.  October 1914 Moved to Chiseldon.

December 1914 Moved to Cirencester (2 months training) and joined the 40th Brigade of the 13th Division to replace the 7th Welsh Regiment. They then left 23rd February 1915 for Inkerman Barracks, Cowshot near Woking and were fully equipped for war upon completion of this further training. 

27th June 1915 orders were given to leave for Avonmouth, Bristol by train.  The 5th Wiltshire finally sailed from Avonmouth at 8.50 pm 1st July 1915 aboard SS Franconia heading for Alexandra, Egypt arriving on the 11th.  On the 15th July they sailed for Lemnos, Eastern Mediterranean and then anchored in Mudros Bay, Lemnos. 

Soon after, they left for Cape Helles to take part in the doomed Gallipoli (Dardanelles) campaign.  They were then to take part in an attempt to relieve the deadlock at Cape Helles and Anzac Cove by landing at the bay of Sulva on the 6th August. 

My grandfather finally died on the 10th August 1915, one of 180 men from the 5th Battalion killed over the two day period of 9th and 10th August.  My Gran Elizabeth, later married Jim Tobin and had two more children John (Uncle Jack) and Mary. 

Information Source: Gareth Clarke, Grandson


A typical act of bravery took place on 17th August 1917 when Sgt Gilbert Lloyd, (Senghenydd), South Wales Borderers who, together with five others soldiers, held an isolated position until his battalion had been relieved and then brought out their wounded whilst still under fire.

He was awarded the MM at a local ceremony held on “The Rec” in August 19, 1919.  At this same ceremony where the villagers turned out in their thousands to see Colonel H E Morgan Lindsay, CB, DSO award the decorations to Sgt Lloyd and the men and also to the families of those Killed in Action (KIA). All listed below.

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)   Military Medal (MM)

Cpl. Tom Locke Sapper Robert Jackson

Pte. William Higgs Bdr. H C Fleet

Dvr. R G Taylor

Gnr. David Davies

Sgt. King Humphries

Pte. Syd Edwards


Distinguished Conduct Medal Military Cross (MC)

Sgt. T H Brown (KIA) Lt. J A Roberts(KIA)

(accepted by his wife) (accepted by his father)

Photo of Sgt Gilbert Lloyd


Wounded on three occasions before winning the MM in 1917.  Became a


Lieutenant in Home Guard, Aber and

and Senghenydd Platoon 1940-46.

Secretary of local Ex-Servicemen’s

Club for over 50 years.