Tom Cecil Tebbs

Tom Cecil Tebbs
Born in Market Hill, St Ives in 1890, Tom was the only surviving son of John and Susannah (née Edwards). Tom had an elder sister and two children died in infancy. Tom's father was a self-employed confectioner, working from home.

By 1901 the family had moved to 96 Gladstone Street, Peterborough. Yet another move by 1911, when Tom was living with his mother at High Street, Fenstanton, working as a milk seller.

Tom signed up with the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment and fought in the Battle of the Somme. Late on 26 July 1916 Tom and his companions set off for battle, the objective to capture the village of Longueval. The approach to their launch point was smothered by German shrapnel and gas barrage so they delayed further progress until a favourable wind created a gap in the blanket of gas for them to move onward. The barrage became a roaring crescendo as they reached their destination at 3.50am on 27 July 1916, .

Tom and his colleagues rose from the trenches at 8.40am and advanced with fixed bayonets into a storm of German shrapnel and machine gun bullets. Moving by short bursts between cover, they gradually engaged and cleared the enemy positions through hand to hand combat. On reaching the village fighting went from house to house. Having secured the smouldering remains of the village, a German counter attack that evening was repulsed.

Longueval WW1
After the battle British soldiers travel through the remains of Longueval
Of the 830 officers and men in the Regiment, 312 were lost during the capture of Longueval. Tom was one of those posted as missing during the battle. Some time later he was confirmed missing on or since Thursday 27 July 1916, death presumed. He was aged 25yrs. Tom has no known grave and is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France and Fenstanton War Memorial. The latter memorial has Tom's surname spelt incorrectly as Tibbs, and the web site incorrectly shows his date of death as 1917.

Do you have a photograph of Tom or any additional information? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
War diary, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
Medal Rolls Index Card
Register of Soldiers Effects
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

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