The Fallen of Ewhurst and Ellen's Green, Surrey  
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  Thomas Duffield 

Private 58424, A Company 21st Bn West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)
Died of Wounds 10/12/1917, aged 21

Buried in the Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloys-les-Mofflaines, France (II.A.2)

Remembered on :
Ewhurst War Memorial,  Memorial Plaque and Book of Remembrance


THOMAS DUFFIELD was born in Ewhurst in in February 1897, the fourth child of Thomas and Emily, who originated from Slinfold in Sussex. His parents had moved to Ewhurst between 1892 and 1894, and in 1901 the family where living in Hazelbank Cottages. His siblings were Emily (born 1889), Walter (born 1892), Rose (born 1894), Mabel (born 1899), Grace (born 1902) and Edgar (born 1905).

By 1911 the family lived in High Edser Cottage, Ewhurst, and in 1912, aged 15, Thomas was a member of the Ewhurst Scout Troop, formed by the parish rector, Rev Archibald Ewart Clark-Kennedy. (See below, back row, extreme left)

Thomas Duffield. Born 1897. Killed in Action near Arras, 10/12/1917, aged 21

Thomas enlisted for service in Ewhurst on 7th September 1914, with the intention of serving with the Royal Engineers. At the time he was serving an apprenticeship as a coach builder with Mr W Endersby (in 1911, a Samuel Endersby also lived at High Edser Cottages, Ewhurst). Thomas falsely declared his age as 19 years old.

On 26th September 1914 the Surrey Advertiser mentions Thomas in a Ewhurst Roll of Honour article regarding the men of the village who had already volunteered for service (at this stage he would have been 17 years and 7 months old, and officially below the age of service). He became Private 50481 and joined 78th (Field) Company Royal Engineers, but was discharged from Wareham on 4th November 1914 under Para 392 III (b) of King's Regulations;

  • (iii) Not being likely to become an efficient soldier
    • (b) Recruit passed by medical officer, but rejected by a recruiting officer stationed away from the headquarters of the recruiting area, or by approving officer

It appears from Thomas's records that his discharge was following a secondary medical examination which discovered that he had an inguinal hernia.

When Thomas was 21 years and 4 months old, his Army Record shows that he was re examined at Stoughton Barracks in Guildford on 22nd May 1917, when he was just over 5ft 6inches tall, weighed 124lbs, and stated his occupation as a "coach painter". He was medically classified as 'A', and attested in Dorking to join the Royal Engineers as Private No 285807 on 7th June 1917. Thomas was posted to Chatham, but subsequently transferred to The West Yorkshire Regiment as Private No 58424 (1,3).

On 4th November 1917 Thomas disembarked in France and joined A Company of 21st West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) on 11th November 1917. Almost exactly one month later, on 10th December 1917, he was reported as Died of Wounds, presumably by a bomb at Arras as stated in the Ewhurst Book of Remembrance.

Thomas was laid to rest in  plot II.A.2 of the Tilloy British Cemetery, in the village of Tilloy-les-Mofflaines, which lies 3km south east of Arras in France.

In May 1919 Thomas Duffield senior, living at Ewhurst Place (Garage), received his son's personal effects from the War Department, namely 2 letters, a religious book, a  cigarette case and 2 Christmas cards. In January of 1922 his father also received Thomas's war medals,  the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (2)


Follow this Link to details about First World War Medals


(1) This transfer explains why Thomas is mentioned on the War Memorial as being of the Royal Engineers but in the Book of Remembrance as being of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own). With his given occupation and the address of his father (Ewhurst Place Garage) presumably father and son were involved with coach making, and hence Thomas's initial posting to the Royal Engineers.
(2) T D Duffield (Thomas's father) occasionally gives his address as Munday Hill, Ewhurst and the CWGC entry states their address as being Ewhurst Place Garage, Ewhurst.
(3) Personal service record of T Duffield WO363/D872


Other sources:

  • Book of Remembrance

  • Soldiers Died in the Great War

  • 1901 Census

  • Surrey Recruitment Register Volume 44 page 10












Andrew Bailey, Ewhurst, Surrey