Pte. T. Gains



UNIT: 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons

NUMBER: 16183

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 2nd April 1918

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: The Pozieres Memorial

AGE: 36

Tom Gains in the uniform of the
20th Hussars (above)

Tom's name inscribed on the
Pozieres Memorial (right)

Tom Gains was born on 6th October 1881 at Salutation Farm, Little Smeaton, which was just a few miles to the north of Northallerton, just off the Darlington Road. He was the only son of the late Thomas and Ann Gains, and he had four sisters. From around 1890 they lived at Cawdey Fields Farm, Romanby, where Tom helped his mother to run the farm after his father's death in 1905. On 11th April 1915 he married Amelia Annie, whose parents lived at Broomfield Farm, which adjoined Cawdey Fields. They had one son, also called Tom, who, at the time of writing this, was alive & well & busy researching his father's war service.

He volunteered in late 1914 or early 1915, apparently being persuaded to join the cavalry by Colonel Godman, of Smeaton, who had led the Inniskilling Dragoons at Balaklava in the Crimean War. He enlisted in the 20th Hussars, though when he made his will at Aldershot in May 1915 it stated he was then in the 18th Hussars. At some point he was employed as an Instructor while he was at Aldershot and given the temporary rank of Corporal, but he presumably reverted to his normal rank when his instruction duties were over.

At some point during the war he joined the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, with whom he was killed, aged 36, during the last great German offensive on the Somme of March/ April 1918. He met his death on 2nd April 1918 defending Rifle Wood near Hourges, France, which had been captured by the Canadian Cavalry Brigade earlier that morning. Sadly his body was never identified and his name is inscribed on the Memorial to the Missing near Pozieres which lists all those Allied soldiers who lost their lives in the Somme area in 1918 and who have no known grave.