Those who gave their lives from Yarm
ELCOATE, Thomas Johnson L/Cpl 27954 2nd Yorks
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In April 1917 Thomas Johnson Elcoate was a Lance Corporal in the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment – known as the Green Howards. The Green Howards were part of 21st Brigade, itself part of 30th Division. 30th Division was part of Vll corps commanded by General Snow, ancestor of TV historians Peter and Dan Snow.
Tommy died of wounds on 13th April and is buried in Warlincourt Halte Cemetery outside the village of Saulty near Arras in Northern France. His service records were destroyed during the blitz in WW2, and along with them any way of knowing when he joined the army or what happened to him. All the evidence, though, points to him having been wounded in the actions of his unit on 9th April 1917.
At the beginning on the month the 2nd Yorks led an assault on the fortified German held village of Henin , just in front of the Hindenburg line a few miles south of Arras. It was a preliminary action to the battle of Arras. The assault was costly in terms of casualties to the battalion and for that reason they were given the ’lesser’ task of ‘mopping up’ after other battalions of the brigade in an attack on the Hindenburg line itself a week later. Rather than leading that attack they would follow the main assault troops in.
Early in the morning of the 9th, after a light artillery barrage, the brigade advanced – crossing two parallel roads running from Henin to Neuville-Vitasse , a village just to the north. They then pushed on to the German trenches but could not break through the barbed wire. Under fire from machine guns and artillery, the assault troops withdrew back through the 2nd Yorks behind them to the second ‘sunken’ road. The 2nd Yorks were ordered to withdraw to the road as well. Some small pockets of the battalion remained in shell holes closer to the German trenches until they – and the troops now regrouped at the sunken road – were relieved by other units in the early hours of the 10th.
84 ‘other ranks’ from the 2nd Yorks were recorded as wounded as a result of the attack. It is likely Tommy was amongst them ( Battlion war diaries between 11th and his death on the 13th note the battalion moving away from the front lines into billets)
After receiving whatever emergency treatment was available at the front itself, Tommy would have been evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station. The role of a CCS was to treat a soldier so he could return to the line or to stabilise him for evacuation to a hospital. It’s not possible to know how far Tommy got in this procedure but it is recorded that CCSs in the area were using Warlincourt Halte as a cemetery for soldiers that died while in their care.
For WW1 information about Tommy's brother John Elcoate, left click on the photograph below of two of John's sons Bill and Fred Ellcote.
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Yarm 1914 Research
The Yarm 1914 Commemoration Group is carrying out research on the soldiers listed. We are finding where they lived in Yarm and will represent the findings in a wall of poppies presentation. More details will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and this web site. If you have any information please contact us. Left click on the picture below.