Remembrance Sunday

Name Rank Service Number Date of Death Age Regiment / Service Service Country Grave / Memorial Reference Cemetery / Memorial Name
DICKMAN, THOMAS

 

Acting Bombardier 143275 04/10/1918 23 Royal Garrison Artillery United Kingdom II. G. 4. FIFTEEN RAVINE BRITISH CEMETERY, VILLERS-PLOUICH

Today we gather in this village to remember those who have died in conflict.

Increasingly I find this very moving: the aging process and having sons makes me remember those who lost theirs. I don’t see this as glorifying slaughter, but remembering and giving thanks, and being silent (One of my favourite poems is Wilfred Owen ‘Dulce et decorum est’) In the face of such loss of life and continuing loss, sometimes the only response is silence.

The above record is from the commonwealth war graves site. My grandfather fought at the end of world war 1. Thomas was his cousin, whom he was bought up with (my grandfather was bought up in a single parent family and his mum died when he was still young. He went to live with his cousins, the Dickmans).

 

Thomas Dickman

As a teenager, I can remember finding my grandpa’s (Robert Henry Peacock) apprenticeship papers for Armstrong Whitworth’s in Newcastle upon Tyne. They were written in a fountain pen and in a style of writing that was hard to understand even 65 years later. His uncle, ‘Mr Glenwright’, was the guarantor for his apprenticeship. What really interested me was that his apprenticeship was interupted from early 1918 and resumed in 1919 as he was called up to fight in the Durham Light Infantry.

I don’t remember asking him about what he did in the war, although I must have. He died in 1978 (I can still remember the hushed voices in our home on the morning he was discovered dead).

It is only in subsequent years that I have discovered more about him. He was in France, but he may not have seen action: fortunately due to his age, he was late in being called up. More dramatically, I found out recently that ‘Mr Glenwright’ was not his uncle, but his dad: my great grandparents never married and may not have lived together. He seemed to have lived with his mum who perhaps did not live long enough to see him all through his childhood.

In any case, he was largely bought up in his early/late teens with his cousins, the Dickman’s. His oldest cousin, Thomas, also went to war. He never came back. This is on the War Graves Commision website:-

In Memory of
Acting Bombardier THOMAS DICKMAN

143275, 244th Siege Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery
who died age 23
on 04 October 1918
Son of Thomas and Margaret Dickman, of Newcastle-on-Tyne.
Remembered with honour
FIFTEEN RAVINE BRITISH CEMETERY, VILLERS-PLOUICH

http://www.cwgc.org/search/certificate.aspx?casualty=239536

http://www.cwgc.org/search/cemetery_details.aspx?cemetery=2000077&mode=1

Today, on this 11th November among the millions of other victims, I will be remembering him. I know nothing more, apart from these details and the fact that his battery first went to France on 29 January 1917. Like many other casualties, his details are largely forgotten and faded….