Thomas Bryan VC

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Thomas Bryan VC

Postby sp1 » Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:44 am

This Thomas Bryan on BCC:
http://bcconnections.tribalpages.com/tr ... ver=355409


Found this on the interweb!

Mr Thomas Bryan VC. Of Castleford, was one of only 1351 servicemen of the Commonwealth and of numerous nationalities to have been awarded the Victoria Cross since it’s inception in 1856. "Three of whom have received a bar to their VC".

Mr Bryan was awarded the medal for his gallantry at Vimy Ridge near Arras, France, on the 9th of April 1917, the first day of the Arras offensive. .

Citation of Deed.

"For most conspicuous bravery during an attack. Although wounded, this Non-commissioned Officer went forward alone, with a view to silencing a machine gun which was inflicting much damage. He worked up most skilfully along a communication trench, approached the gun from behind, disabled it and killed two of the team as they were abandoning the gun..

As this machine gun had been a serious obstacle in the advance of the second objective, the results obtained by Lance-corporal Bryan’s gallant action were very far-reaching.".

Mr Bryan was born in Bott Lane, Lye, near Stourbridge, Worcestershire, on the 21st of January 1882. .

At some time in his early infancy he moved to Castleford with his parents, living at 29 Hunt Street, Whitwood Mere. He was educated in his early life at the Potteries Council School, and was also a scholar of the United Methodist Church Sunday School..

On the 26th of December 1903 Mr Bryan married Sarah Smart of Castleford at Whitwood Mere Parish Church. Sarah was 19 and Thomas was 21..

They had five children, the first a son, Thomas Alfred Bryan born on the 3rd of October 1904..

Fanny the first girl was born on the 3rd of January 1906 but unfortunately died on the 13 of December 1907 aged only 23 months. Albert the second son was born on the 19th of May 1908, the second daughter Sarah arrived on the 3 April 1911. And the last child another girl, Evelyn was born on the 28th of September 1913 .

Previous to the war Mr Bryan was a well-known Rugby player, having played for Castleford Northern Rugby Union Team..

Before joining the Army, he worked for Henry Briggs and Company, Whitwood Colliery, as a miner..

On the 11th of April 1915, Mr Bryan enlisted into the Army at Castleford and Eight months later was drafted to a service battalion in France, the Northumberland Fusiliers 25th Service Battalion (2nd Tyneside Irish)..

The Lord Mayor and the city of Newcastle formed the 25th Service Battalion in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on The 9th of November 1914. .

The battalion was attached to the 103rd Brigade (34th Division) in June of 1915. This Brigade in turn was attached to the 37th Division, between 6 July and 22 August 1916..

In April of 1916 he fractured his ankle and had to be sent home for rest and recuperation. He was drafted to France to another service battalion in December 1916. On the 26th of March In the following year, 1917 he was promoted to Lance Corporal..

His Majesty King George V presented his medal to him at St. James’s Park, Newcastle on Sunday the 17th of June 1917 in front of a crowd of more than 40,000. His wife and four children spent a week with him in Newcastle..

During the investiture Major General Montgomery read out Mr Bryan’s citation to thunderous applause. .

In the latter half of June of 1917 he was admitted to Alnwick Hospital due the seriousness of his wounds, one of which was a bullet wound in his right arm, incurred during his V.C. actions.

While Mr Bryan was in hospital he told of his deed..

"On that glorious day, our lads were held up by a machine-gun, which was so well hidden we couldn’t check it’s deadly work. I therefore made up my mind to put a stop to its activities, so creeping over the top; I went from shell hole to shell hole in "No Man’s Land". I crept into a communications trench, which was held by the enemy, where I came across three Germans. This was at six o’clock in the morning. These men were so surprised that they surrendered without showing any fight, and two of them presented me with their watches. I thereupon sent them down to the base with some of my men. I then went forward again, along with Sgt Major Foster, of the Fifth and ran across a German officer, who was also delighted. Not many minutes afterwards I surprised another Hun, who gave up his arms as meekly as a lamb. An hour later I was still prowling round, trying to fix the German machine-gun team, but was unable to spot it. Whilst working my way along, I was spotted by one of the enemy, who, letting drive, caught me in the right arm. Following this bit of hard luck, I decided to try rapid fire on the place where I thought the machine-gun was placed, and on this being carried out, we found to our glee that the gun which had been spitting forth it’s fire of death, barked no more. Two of the gun team tried to get away under our rapid fire, but I shot both of them. .

I stayed with my comrades until half past one mid-day, after which I left to have my wound dressed. With the machine-gun and its gunners destroyed, it was now an easy matter for our boys to advance." .

A reception was held in Castleford and Whitwood on Saturday June 23rd 1917, with Whitwood Colliery Band playing, "See the conquering hero comes"..

Decorated landaus went in procession along Carlton Street, Aire Street and Bank Street then on toward Hightown Cricket Ground. A Mr T R Dawes organised the reception..

On the 27th of July 1917 he was given a civic reception in the city of Newcastle. Together with Private Ernest Sykes, another Yorkshireman, they were met by the Lord Mayor and presented with war loans, a clock and a wallet of treasury notes. This reception took place at the Empire Theatre..

Mr Bryan was discharged from the Army on the 16th of September 1918 and in 1920 attended the garden party at Buckingham Palace for recipients of the Victoria Cross. In the same year he was also present at the dedication ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall and the burial of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey on the 11th of November..

After the war Mr Bryan returned to the pits in Castleford and later a fund was set up for Mr Bryan to buy him a horse and cart to set him up in his own business..

He moved to Norton in 1926. In 1929 he attended the Victoria Cross Dinner in the Royal gallery at the House of Lords on the 9th of November..

Until 1934 Mr Bryan lived at 11 Fairfield Villas. In the same year he moved again to Doncaster and worked at Askern Colliery. Some time after he had to give up his job in the mining industry, due to his war wounds, as well as the effect from being gassed in the trenches. He unfortunately spent some six weeks in a sanatorium..

He did however take up another job as a greengrocer, in his own shop at Bentley, Doncaster..

Mr Bryan died at 44 Askern Road, Bentley, Doncaster, on the 13th of October 1945 and was buried on the 17th of October 1945 at Arksey Cemetery with full military honours. Section J Grave No 237.The service was held at St Peters Church, Bentley. Marked with a Commonwealth Graves Commission headstone with a Victoria Cross engraved on the front. .

There are Three Memorials to Mr Bryan in Castleford. A memorial plaque at the Castleford Civic Centre in the foyer. Bryan Close at Whitwood Mere a street on the site where Mr Bryan lived and a memorial to 150 Castleford men erected in their honour for being distinguished during the Great War. Mr Bryan’s name is in the top centre of the memorial. This memorial is in the entrance (between the two set of double doors) to the Castleford Library, Carlton Street, Castleford..

Mr Bryans Victoria Cross and other medals were first sold by auction at Christies for £9,800 on the 25th of July 1989. Dix.Noonan.Webb Auctioneers sold his medals on privately on the 26th 0f June 2000, for the sum of £60,000.
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Re: Thomas Bryan VC

Postby sp1 » Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:51 am

The exciting part is he links to me (7th cousin).

His father Thomas Bryan married 6 June 1881, St Michael, Brierley Hill, to Sarah Hoskins, parents John Bryan and John Hoskins. This Thomas was born about 1858 Lye, son of John Bryan (born abt 1829, Stourbridge)/ Ann Maria Clewes (born about 1838, Lye, married 14 feb 1858, St Mary, Old Swinford).
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Re: Thomas Bryan VC

Postby sp1 » Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:54 pm

Last edited by sp1 on Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thomas Bryan VC

Postby sp1 » Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:56 pm

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Re: Thomas Bryan VC

Postby gardener » Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:09 pm

Very interesting!
A bit sad that his medals made a huge profit for someone who was presumably unconnected to him.
"The present is the key to the past" - Charles Lyell
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Re: Thomas Bryan VC

Postby sp1 » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:54 pm

gardener wrote:Very interesting!
A bit sad that his medals made a huge profit for someone who was presumably unconnected to him.

Yes, that is sad.
I think it's also sad that there is no local memorial to him.

But what a fantastic picture from the Express & Star of him receiving his medal!
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Re: Thomas Bryan VC

Postby Northern Lass » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:24 am

moving this to military researching individuals
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Re: Thomas Bryan VC

Postby mallosa » Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:37 am

sp1 wrote:Yes, that is sad.
I think it's also sad that there is no local memorial to him.

But what a fantastic picture from the Express & Star of him receiving his medal!


He'll be remembered on BCC - http://bcconnections.tribalpages.com/tr ... ver=355890

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