Thomas Hope Formby never knew his only child. His daughter Angela was born four months after he was killed in France during the Battle of the Somme. His father Charles had been the vicar of Ridlington but died in 1894 when Thomas was just five years old. The family stayed in the village until his mother Elizabeth remarried and moved to Surrey. Thomas was educated at Peterhouse College, Cambridge and served in the Officer Training Corps. When the First World War broke out he joined the 1st Battalion Cambridgeshire Regiment and was killed on 13 October 1916, aged 27. His battalion was occupying a former German strongpoint known as the Leipzig Redoubt near Thiepval and were preparing for an attack on another strongpoint, the Schwaben Redoubt. The battalion war diary records: "We had bad luck today. Lt Formby and 2nd Lt Scott being killed by a shell while reconnoitering the country around Thiepval preparatory to the battle." We assume his original grave was lost during subsequent fighting and today he is remembered on Pier 16B of the Thiepval Memorial. Thomas' promotion to Captain was announced in the London Gazette after his death. Even though he had moved from Ridlington he is still remembered on the war memorial there inside his father's church, and on the side of his father's grave in the churchyard. It is a red marble memorial found on the left hand side behind the church. Two of Thomas' uncles and his aunt's husband all also died in the First World War and all four of them are remembered on a special tablet inside the church in Formby on Merseyside where the family originally came from. He had married Kathleen Ross in London in 1915, a year before he died. Their daughter Angela never married and she and his widow both died in 1987.
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