Thomas Gould Whittaker was born in Ketton and lived there with his wife Ellen and three children Thomas, Arthur and Ellen before the war. He had married Ellen Peet by the age of 19, in early 1891. The couple first lived in Aldgate and then moved to The Green. He enlisted in Stamford at the start of the war on 2 September 1914, answering Lord Kitchener's call for volunteers. He went to France on the 15 July 1915 with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, and was promoted to Lance Sergeant in January 1916. He was wounded on 2 March 1916, suffering a gunshot wound to his right arm and brought back to England to be treated. He was treated firstly at the North Staffordshire Hospital before being transferred to the Military Hospital at Rugley. He returned to France on 3 August 1916, which according to his enlistment papers would have been his birthday. He rejoined the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment on the Somme on 17 September 1916. Just five weeks later he had been killed - by a bullet on 23 October 1916, aged 25. His battalion had been ordered to attack Zenith Trench north of Lesboeufs. The battalion war diary described what happened: "At Zero hour the battalion assaulted following the creeping barrage as close as possible. As soon as the Bn started to assault, a very gallant German officer ran down his own parapet and got his men up and stopped us by rapid rifle fire." The battalion also suffered heavily from German machine guns and only a few men reached their objective. Thomas has no known grave and is remembered on Pier 1C of the Thiepval Memorial as well as on Ketton's war memorial.
See where all our Rutland soldiers died during the Battle of the Somme on our interactive map.
Pictures of Thomas above and below (sitting) courtesy of great-great grandson David Couzens.
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