Although Thomas Heazle is not on the war memorial, he is included here as he is on the Absent Voters’ list for 1918. On this list his address is given as being near Low Farm, Saxlingham Green. It was probably that of his parents.
Thomas was born in Saxlingham Nethergate on 25 November 1891. His parents were Thomas and Harriet Elizabeth Heazle, (nee Denmark). His father worked as a farm labourer and a dealer. His mother was a dress maker.
He had three brothers and two sisters.
Ellen May born October 1884
Blanche Rosina born 24 February 1889
Charles born 2 February 1900
Harold born 1903
In 1901 the family were living in The Street, Saxlingham Nethergate.
Thomas was working for Robert Fellowes at Shotesham Park, Shotesham Saint Mary, as a footman in 1911. Shotesham Park, is a Soane house in the adjacent village to Saxlingham Nethergate.
Before the war he was working as a butler and it is thought that this is how he met his future wife, Ethel White. She was also in service as a children’s nurse
His service records have not survived but it is known from the Absent Voters’ List that he was a private in the Devonshire Regiment, Service number 12073.
He enlisted on 11 September 1914 and served until 24 October 1918. He went to Boulogne with the Devonshire Regiment on 22 September 1915.
However instead of going into the trenches they were diverted to Macedonia via Marseilles. They arrived in Salonika on 21 November 1915. They spent several months on garrison duty but in July 1916 were sent to the front line near Doiran. Here they were subjected to attack by the Bulgarians. By the end of September nearly a third of the 10th Battalion had been admitted to hospital suffering from dysentery or malaria. Thomas was one of these men.
He was admitted to a hospital on 16 September 1916 with malaria and transferred to an ambulance train on 17 September 1916. (More information about ambulance trains can be found under the entry for Leslie Brighton) The records do not state where he was taken and how long he was ill. The record says that he was 23 years old and had been in the army for 2 years. He had been in the field force for 12 months.
In May 1917 he sent a post card to Ethel White from St. John and St. Elizabeth Hospital in St. John’s Wood, London., where he was a patient.
At the beginning of the war the hospital which was run by the Order of the Sisters of Mercy put 50 beds at the disposal of the Army and Navy. By the end of the war they had treated 2,573 patients.
He was discharged from the army on 24 October 1918 as being unfit for service as a result of ‘disordered action of the heart’. He must have been in England for some time as in July of 1918 he married Ethel Maude White in Bristol. She was born 17 January 1892. His pension record card records his address as Redland, Bristol. He did not return to live in Saxlingham Nethergate.
He had two sons, Thomas Guy born October 1919 and Peter Henry born on 27 March 1923. Each son had one daughter.
In 1938 Thomas is listed in the County Directory as being a boot repairer living at 54a Picton Street, Montpelier, Bristol.
In 1939 the family were living at 23 Hampton Road, Bristol. He was a master bootmaker and repairer.
He died in 1981 in Bristol. He had recurrent bouts of malaria throughout his life.
Ethel died in November 1991 aged 99 years.
England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death index 1837-2005
UK Census Collection, 1891, 1901, 1911
British Army Medal Roll Index cards, 1914-1920
1939 Register- www.findmypast.co.uk
Norfolk Electoral Rolls-Southern Division Saxlingham Nethergate and Thorpe, (Absent Voters Lists 1918-1920)
www.keepmilitarymuseum.org Devonshire Regiment.
Information about St. John and St. Elizabeth Hospital, and photograph www.stjohnswoodmemories.org.uk
Thanks to Angela Crofts, nee Heazle, daughter of Peter Henry Heazle, for information about her grandfather and grandmother.