Thomas Richard Place was born in 1893, and in 1911 was living at 80 George Lane, Wanstead. He was the oldest of five children born to parents Richard and Sarah.
Thomas’ father, an agricultural labourer from Suffolk, had moved to London in search of better prospects. By 1891, Richard had moved to Wanstead and was employed as a domestic gardener. In 1911, Thomas was working as a blind maker and still living with his parents on George Lane.
Thomas enlisted soon after war was declared, joining the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He landed in France on 1st April 1915 and was soon involved in the second battle of Ypres in Belgium.
The Germans made extensive use of deadly poison chlorine gas during the battle, the first time this was used.
On 23rd April 1915, Thomas’ battalion attacked a farm building. In this attack, three officers and 46 other ranks were killed, one of whom was Thomas. He was 22 years old and had been in France for just three weeks. Thomas was buried in the New Irish Farm cemetery in Belgium.
Research by Wanstead United Reformed Church
Commonwealth War Graves Commission