Thomas Duckmanton: Colliery Labourer


We know that Thomas ended his life as a private in the Grenadier Guards fighting for a village called Lesboeufs in France, but where did it all begin?

From the excellent Family Tree investigations done by my brother Melvyn, we find that Thomas' birth was shrouded in mystery. Melvyn has narrowed down the options to 10th April, 1896 if we follow the census forms or 10th April, 1895 if we choose to believe his army service record, we will refer back to this later. It is reasonably certain that he was born in Sheffield, but with no recorded registration so far discovered, the details remain hazy. We do know that Thomas' presumed mother and father did not get married until 1901 and young Thomas lived with his grandparents during the intervening years.

Sadly, little is known about Thomas' early life save that at the age of 15 he was still living with his grandparents at 3 Carr Lane, Warsop, Nottinghamshire and working as an above ground colliery labourer. At some point during the next three years Thomas appears to have been promoted to the status of 'Coal Miner' and would have been expecting to spend a good part of his working life deep underground in a Nottinghamshire coal mine. The coal mines were a big employer in the area at that time and provided work for a large proportion of the men in Warsop.

This was 1911. Three years later in August 1914, Britain was to declare war on Germany. This would mark the beginning of 'The Great War' and the end of Thomas' career as a coal miner.

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