Baxenden Lads: Brandon T

13th May 1915

PTE. 5855 TOM BRANDON of the East Lancashire Regiment, was killed in action on May 13th 1915 near Ypres in Belgium.

Tom lived with his parents John and Alice Brandon at Ing Cottages, Baxenden. He was aged twenty nine, and was a regular soldier. Before he enlisted he worked at Alliance Mill, Baxenden.

Tom had served with his regiment in France and Belgium since December 1914. He was the first man from Baxenden to be killed in action. He died in a gallant action by the East Lancashire Regiment at a place called Mouse-trap Farm. At four a.m. on May 13th the regiment was holding trenches at the farm when they were bombarded continuously by German artillery. At times twelve six inch shells a minute were bursting along a fifty yard length of trench. At seven-thirty a.m. in heavy rain, in the face of the bombardment, the regiment launched an attack on the German trenches. The attack failed in the face of German machine-gun fire, at times at a range of fifteen yards, and fierce hand-to-hand fighting. At the end of seven days constant fighting the regiment lost 171 men killed, 204 wounded and 52 taken as prisoners of war.

Tom’s body was never found. His name, therefore, is inscribed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. This Memorial spans one of the two main gateways of the old town. The names of 54,365 men who died in the Ypres battles between October 1914 and August 16th 1917 and have no known grave are inscribed on panels inside the archway and the stairway leading to the ramparts of the town wall. Three hundred and three men of the East Lancashire Regiment are listed, and Tom’s name is included with his comrades.