READ, Thomas Jaffray

6445 Lance Corporal  3rd Regt. South African Infantry


Son of William McCartney Read and Ellen Taylor Read.


Blundell's School, “Westlake” from the age of 13; September 1896 – Easter 1901.


At the outbreak of war in 1914 he volunteered for African Service but as he was never called up he gave up his farm and joined the South African Contingent, which was sent to England in November 1915. He paid a flying visit to Blundell’s before proceeding to training camp.


1st August 1916 in Delville Wood, Somme, aged 33.
He was officially reported missing in August 1916 but this was later amended to July 1916 after reports from other soldiers.  One soldier reported seeing him dead in Delville Wood on 17th July and another reported the circumstances of his death. “On the first day the South Africans were fighting in Delville Wood, several parties of Germans had been taken prisoner. Lance Corporal Read gained permission from a Major to go out and bring in a large body of Germans wishing to surrender. He started out with three others but they and the surrendering Germans were fired on by German Machine Gun. Read was wounded and afterwards killed by a shell.”


Lance Corporal Read has no known grave so is commemorated on Theipval Memorial, Theipval, Somme, Pillar _ , face _ .


Theipval Memorial is on the D73, off the Main Bapaume to Albert (D929) The Memorial, 150 feet high, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and can be seen from many of the battle sites in the surrounding area. It has sixteen piers on whose faces the names of all the men who have no known grave, is inscribed. An excellent interpretation centre has been built nearby with research facilities and an “on-line” memorial to the missing which contains much valuable information.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission -
The National Archives, Kew:  Medal rolls WO 372/16
The Blundellian, November 1915, p259
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.4520
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 25/490
“British battalions on the Somme” WESTLAKE, R. (2004) Pen and Sword
Field visit (JEA & GRY 28/7/2006)


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