Private Thomas Frank Reed

Regiment: 9th Battalion Royal Sussex
Service No:    G.8123
Date and place of birth: 1st qtr 1894 in Singleton, Sussex
Date and place of death:  6 April 1920 in Midhurst, Sussex

Family background

Thomas Frank Reed was one of the twelve children of Moses and Mary Reed who had married in 1881. Moses was born about 1858 in Elsted, Sussex, and Mary, nee Richards, was born in 1857 in Treyford, Sussex.

In 1911 Moses (53) was a farm labourer living at Broadham Cottage, Singleton with Mary (54) and eight of their children, including Thomas (17) who was working as a cowman.

On 23 March 1916 Thomas Reed married Caroline Osborne of 246 South Ambersham, Sussex.  She was born on 5 June 1889 and was a daughter of William Osborne, a farm labourer, and his wife Caroline, who had all been born in South Ambersham.

A son, Thomas George Osborne, was born to Caroline on 10 December 1914 but died from whooping cough and pneumonia on 29 June 1916.

Military service

Thomas Frank Reed, an unmarried 21 year old labourer, enlisted in Chichester, Sussex on 10 November 1915, giving his address as Springwater Cottage, Singleton.

He was discharged from 10 General Hospital, Newport on 2 or 22 May 1918 as being no longer physically fit for war service. The records give no information about his condition but he was sent home on 2 May with £1 advance, a suit of plain clothes and a great coat. He was granted a weekly pension of 27/6 for nine weeks from 23 May 1918 and then 19/3 a week for life.

He was awarded British and Victory medals.

On 17 October 1918 Thomas Reed, then living at Iping, Sussex, acknowledged receipt of a War Badge and Certificate. This Silver War Badge was issued to service personnel who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness during the war. The badge was to be worn on the right breast or right lapel of jacket, but only on civilian clothes.  It was issued in response to the practice of some women who presented white feathers to apparently able-bodied young men who were not wearing the King’s uniform.

Death and commemoration

He died on 6 April 1920 in Midhurst. He is buried in Midhurst Cemetery, grave 94.5 and commemorated with a headstone.

Headstone in Midhurst Cemetery
Headstone in Midhurst Cemetery

He is also commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial and Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church.

Subsequent family history

In May 1921 Caroline Reed of Forge Cottage, Church Street, Midhurst was awarded a widow’s pension of 26/8 a week, together with a weekly allowance of 17/6 in respect of two female children, one born on 30 August 1912 and the other on 29 July 1918.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project