Wetherby War Memorial - The Great War 1914 - 1918

Private Thomas George Scutt

Gunter, R B N
Durrant, C M
Weston, C G
Kelly, K G
Armitage, G J
Durrant, H M L
Hargreaves, J P
March, G
Dukes, W
Fowler, R
Westerman, H
Kirk, J C
Wiggins, T A
Telford, G
Harper, J W
Alexander, H W
Mason, T F
Wilkinson, W
Brown, C
Adkin, J
Barton, F
Hobman, A
Webster, A E
March, E A
Miller, G
Hannan, E
Utley, G
Walker, F
Bygrave, E W
Chapman, E
Varley, N W
Bowen, F J
Byrom, F
Backhouse, S
Dalby, M
Crossland, A
Crossley, J S
Dean, R
Frost, A E
Hodgson, F H
Holt, J
Hood, W H
Hill, W
Kitchen, T
Linfoot, E
Metcalfe, J C
Marsden, J
Pawson, W
Precious, G
Scutt, T G
Wiggins, J
Walker, E
Wood, A
Young, T
Pratt, W
Taylor, H
Dawson, G W
Lister, J
Binge, T
Atack, G
Durham, E F
Precious, G R
Wheelhouse Smith, W
Backhouse, H
Swann, J W
Burnsides, G A
Coles, W
Kelly, H W
Miles, J G
Tapsell, K

1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment
Died 21st March 1918

Cemetery : Vaux Hill Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference or Panel Number : III.D.5

Son of Jonathan and Annie Scutt; husband of Mary Annie Scutt (nee Apew).
Thomas George Scutt was born in 1886 at Swinefleet, near Goole, to parents Jonathan, a Farmer, and Annie Scutt.
It would appear that upon the death of his Grandfather, one William Scutt in 1888, Thomas' father, being an only child, inherited a large farm comprising of 145 acres located at Reedness Grange near Swinefleet. I can only surmise therefore that this was the family residence where Thomas spent his early years.
Shortly after the birth of a third daughter, Annie in 1889 at Reedness, the family relocated to the picturesque village of Sessay near Thirsk. The 1891 Census records that the family now took up residence at the Downe Arms with Thomas' fathers occupation still being recorded as that of a Farmer, the family now comprising of five children, Sarah aged 9, William (John William) aged 6, Thomas aged 5, Nora aged 3 and Annie aged 2 years respectively.
An examination of the 1901 Census records the family still residing at the Downe Arms, Jonathan now describing his occupation as that of a Farmer/Publican being assisted in his farming duties by both William and Thomas. The family had also been blessed by the birth of two further children, Leonora Alice (Lena) in 1893 and Nellie (Nelly) Boynton in 1897.
By the year of 1911, Jonathan had given up the tenure of the Downe Arms to one Frederick Kay and had taken up residence at Number 2, East View, Long Street, Thirsk. It is, one feels, that he may have experienced a downturn in his fortunes as he now describes his occupation in the census details of this year as a "Horseman on Farm," (Worker). As most familys experience, some siblings had departed the family home, only Lena and Nelly remaining however despite extensive searches of this census, of Thomas there is no trace. One simple answer maybe just that Thomas was not present when the Enumerator called at the family residence but at this juncture we will now attempt to explore his arrival in the market town of Wetherby, his occupation and his eventual marriage.
Wetherby:- Employment, Marriage & Enlistment
The first records of Thomas residing in the Wetherby district appear in 1914 but it is impossible to determine with some accuracy when he actually took up residence in the town. Possibly taking up lodgings in one of the numerous Boarding Houses located in the town, Thomas found employment as a Groom with Mr. George Gunter, a successful trainer of racehorses and a Gentleman Farmer of Heuthwaite Lodge, Wetherby. Romance blossomed with a local girl, Miss Mary Annie Apew, the daughter of the late John and Annie Apew of Swinnow Hill, Wetherby. Spending her formative years residing in premises located on the Montague Estate that encompassed Ingmanthorpe Hall, her father was employed on the estate as a Woodman but due to the nature of his employment, tragedy would strike the family in 1911 as a result of an unfortunate accident. The Leeds Mercury dated the 17th of June 1911 records the circumstances surrounding his death:-
"A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned yesterday at the inquest at Leeds Town Hall on the body of John Apew, aged 69 years, of Swinnow Hill, Wetherby, who died in the Infirmary on Wednesday, following an injury received whilst working on the estate of Mr. F.J.O. Montague.
Apew and another man were sawing trees which had been felled, and two other men were doing the actual felling. One tree which was being felled broke off sooner than anticipated because it was rotten. It fell exactly as planned but owing to the hardness of the ground the root bounced over a six-foot fence and struck Apew, who was working at the other side.
Both Apew's legs were broken and one had to be amputated at the Leeds Infirmary. Mortification set in, and caused death."
Losing a father at the age of twenty years must have come as the bitterest blow to herself and her mother. John was laid to rest at St. Michael's Church, Cowthorpe, whereupon Mary and her mother moved at first to premises located in the West End (Westgate) area of the town before taking up residence at Number 3, North Street. (Authors note: As of 1914 and recorded in the Electoral Register).
On the 21st of September 1914, Thomas married Mary at St. James Parish Church, the marriage being witnessed by Mary's brother, John Robert, a Joiner, and her mother. Exactly one month to the day, Annie (Ann) Apew died aged 73 years leaving her entire estate of £228, 12 shillings and 5 pence to her son.
Despite a lack of surviving service documents, one can determine through an analysis of various documents in the number sequence that Thomas had been conscripted under the Military Services Act of 1916. Called up for General Service in either late July or early August of that year, he was subsequently posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. Forming part of the Tyne Garrison and located at Whitley Bay, the 3rd Battalion was placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Frend, a position he would hold until the cessation of hostilities.
Undergoing a programme of training that included drill, musketry and field craft, the rigours of life in the army were offset in the north-east by a lively programme of fund raising and social events, often attended by the Regimental Band. A large Y.M.C.A. Hut had been erected in addition to those already located at Cambois, Blyth and Horton, and it was noted to be one of the most successful that had been established in the north-east of England. Renovated on the initiative of Mrs. Isacke, wife of Major Reginald Isacke, 3rd Battalion, her initial donation of £50 was initially given on the premise of nine other donations of a similar sum. Such was the success of this fund raising campaign, twenty-two further 'gifts' were received, the opening ceremony of this revamped and enlarged establishment being conducted by Brigadier-General Arthur James Kelly C.B., Commanding Number 2 Section, Tyne Garrison.  (Source: Newcastle Daily Journal dated the 16th of November 1916).
Posting Overseas
The 3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, comprised of a variety of men; wounded soldiers returned from the front, those who had served previously before the outbreak of the war, men rather advanced in age and those who were medically unfit for active service. Amongst this eclectic mix of men, there were those such as Thomas who had been conscripted for military service. As the Somme battle drew on through its various phases since the launch of the offensive on the 1st of July 1916, both the Regular and Service Battalions of the Regiment that had been engaged now experienced a pressing need for drafts to replace those either killed or wounded. In the winter of 1916 therefore, Thomas was drafted overseas to replace losses suffered by the 18th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (2nd Bradford "Pals"). An analysis of the Battalion War Diary (T.N.A. WO95/2362/2) reveals that the first drafts to the battalion commenced in October and numbered 332 in total for the month, in November, 40 duly arrived and in December, the total was 130. It is of interest to note that of this last draft, 87 of their number as recorded by the Battalion War Diary originated from the "1st West Yorks." This possibly indicates that this draft was either destined for the latter Regular Battalion, or, the designation should actually read, the 1st (Garrison) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, men who had been transferred from this battalion who were serving in Malta.
It is impossible to determine with any degree of accuracy the actual date of Thomas' drafting to the battalion however research points to the fact that this was most likely in late November 1916. The 18th West Yorkshire's, in division, had returned to the Somme battlefield in mid October taking up trenches located in the Hebuterne/Serre Sector. The 31st Division were about to be engaged in the Battle of the Ancre that would be launched on the 13th of November but during the course of this offensive action, only the Hull Battalions of the 92nd Infantry Brigade would participate, this brigade suffering heavy casualties during the course of the attack. For a comprehensive account of this engagement in which two Wetherby men were present, the reader may wish to read the following commemorations:-

Private Sidney Backhouse

Private Joseph Lister

The 18th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (2nd Bradford "Pals")
The actions of the battalion, and division, upon their arrival on the Western Front are well documented. For the purpose of this commemoration, I will commence this for Tom on the 28th of November 1916, the day that 24 O/R's were drafted to the battalion, the latter occupying positions in the Hebuterne Sector. The days after the failed attack on Serre on the 13th of November were characterised by a heavy increase in enemy artillery, Hebuterne being targeted on more than a number of occassions. In retaliation, British artillery maintained a steady fire on the enemy occupied villages of Serre and Puisieux but both artilleries were hampered by poor observation due to mist that prevailed for the remainder of the month and into December.
Under the command of Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Francis George Carter, it was on the 1st of December at about noon that enemy artillery put in a number of gas shells into the centre of Hebuterne. Previous to this shelling, a number of high explosive and shrapnel shells had been fired into the battalions wire in front of Solferino Trench but to even the odds, Lewis guns located at the Mouse Trap opposite Gommecourt Wood claimed seven 'hits' on a German working party. This pattern of desultory shelling continued until the 3rd when the battalion were relieved by the 18th (Service) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, 93rd Infantry Brigade. With the relief completed without incident at about 3.20 p.m., the West Yorkshire's proceeded by route of march to Rossignol Farm, located just to the north of the village of Coigneux, and billeted. Although at 'rest,' a programme of training was initiated focused on the battalion's 'specialists,' large working parties also being furnished for duties. Relieving the 18th D.L.I. on the 9th, the battalion returned to the L.3. Sub Sector, this relief being duly completed by 4 p.m. With the 16th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire's on their right flank occupying the line Warrior Trench (exclusive) - Yankee Trench (inclusive), the left flank was occupied by the 1/5th Sherwood Foresters, 139th Infantry Brigade, 46th (North Midland) Division, from K.3.c.9.6. - E.28.c.2.6.