Thomas George Coombs

Date of Birth: 1896

Place Of Birth: Crumlin, Monmouthshire

Date of Death: 11/8/1917

Location died: Ypres

Gender: Male

Where buried: The Huts Cemetery, Ypres

  • Date of birth - 1896

    Where? - Crumlin, Monmouthshire

  • Date Enlisted - N/A

    Where? - Newport, Monmouthshire

    Age - N/A

    As - Unknown

  • Battles

  • Date of the battle - 1/7/1916

    Where? - Somme

  • Date of the battle - 7/6/1917

    Where? - Messines

  • Date of the battle - 31/7/1917

    Where? - Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres)

  • Ranks

  • Rank Date - N/A

    Rank - As Private

    Service - British Army

    As - South Wales Borderers

    Service number - 17288

  • Awarded medal

  • Award date - N/A

    Was awarded - Type : 1914-15 Star

  • Award date - N/A

    Was awarded - Type : British War Medal

  • Award date - N/A

    Was awarded - Type : Victory Medal

  • Date of Death - 11/8/1917

    Where? - Ypres


Family


  • Father - Thomas Coombs
  • Mother - Susan Coombs
  • Sister - Lilian Mary Coombs
  • Brother - William John Coombs
  • Brother - Christopher Robert Coombs
  • Brother - Reginald Alfred Coombs
  • Sister - Elsie Berthina Coombs
  • Sister - Irenie Coombs
  • Brother - Aiden Coombs


Address


  • 8 Bryn Howard Terrace, Oakdale, Blackwood


Language(s) spoken


  • English


Additional Information


Family Thomas George Coombs was born in Crumlin, Mon. in 1896 to Thomas and Susan Ellen (nee Bradford) Coombs. The 1901 Census records the family as Thomas, Susan Ellen and their five children: Lillian Mary (7), William John (6), Thomas George (4), Christopher Robert (3) and 3 month old Reginald Alfred. At the time of the census they also had a visitor, Bertha Bradford, who was the younger sister of Susan Ellen. The family home was Pentwyn Cottage in Newbridge which only had three rooms and so must have been quite a squeeze for eight occupants. In common with most of the residents of the area, Thomas George’s father was working as a Coal Miner Hewer. The 1911 Census sees young Thomas George Coombs as a fourteen year old Coal Miner Hewer who is still living at the family home which is now Ty Nancy(?) cottage, Old Cwmdows, Newbridge. Thomas and Susan Ellen have added three more children to their family since 1901, they now have Elsie Berthina (7), Irenie (2) and Aiden (5 months) in addition to Lillian Mary (17), William John (16), Thomas George (14), Christopher Robert (13) and Reginald Alfred (10). By 1911 Thomas (senior) has left the colliery and has set himself up as a greengrocer but his three eldest sons William, Thomas and Christopher are all working underground as coal miners. Military Thomas George Coombs enlisted in the army and was posted as Private (17228) to the 6th Battalion South Wales Borderers. Raised in South Wales in September 1914 the 6th South Wales Borderers were a part of the 76th Brigade of the 25th Division. Possibly because of the high numbers of miners in the unit, the battalion became the Pioneer Battalion of the 25th Division in February 1915. The 6th (Pioneer) Battalion South Wales Borderers landed at Le Havre on 24/25th September 1915 and spent the winter in the Armentières sector doing heavy work in flooded trenches. In the spring of 1916 the battalion was in the line at Vimy and Neuville St. Vaast where two companies did fine work consolidating the craters of mines blown under the German line. They were persistently shelled, and at times had to break off their work to repel an attack, but eventually handed over a thoroughly well-organised position to the relieving infantry. This exploit was rewarded with two MCs, and five MMs. In the Battle of the Somme in the Summer/Autumn of 1916 the battalion was continuously employed. On one occasion they carried out a magnificent piece of Pioneer work by digging 700 yards of communication trench from one captured trench to another (the Regina Trench) under heavy shell fire. Only good discipline and a fine spirit could have accomplished this task, and the battalion wasdeservedly complimented upon it. Their next major engagement was at Messines in July 1917. Throughout April and May they were hard at work preparing for the battle, making communication trenches, tramways and roads, and building a bridge for tanks over the River Douve. In the attack on 7th June, in which the 5th Battalion South Wales Borderers, in the 19th Division, also took part, the 25th Division captured all their objectives. By the evening, two companies of the 6th had constructed 400 yards of trench tramway through the captured area, and two others had opened a road to within 300 yards of Messines, all in spite of continued hostile shelling and machine gun fire. By 15th June, when they were relieved, they had suffered over 100 casualties. Early in August 1917 the battalion moved further north for the Third Battle of Ypres where the 25th Division relieved the 8th Division after the latter had been held up in its attack on the Westhoek Ridge. The combination of bombardment and rain had reduced the trenches to a fearful state, the mud thigh deep in places and movement impossible. Added to this the working parties were shelled by artillery and machine-gunned by aircraft. Eventually, on l0th August 1917, the 25th Division took the ridge. B Company of the 6th doing splendid work in consolidation. Its runner was conspicuous for his gallantry. Though hit in one eye, besides being buried three times when taking a message back he persisted in duly delivering it before getting his wounds attended to. Sergeant Foulkes and Private Coombs fought and died together and are buried side by side in The Huts Cemetery.


Occupation prior to the war


  • Coal mine hewer

CWGC Reference

Sources used