Thomas Henry Wright

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance Thomas Henry Wright
Announcement Date: November 2, 2018

Lorna Pound visited us on one of our drop-in days to share the story of her grandfather, 58755 Sapper Thomas Henry (Harry) Wright.

Harry was born in Richmond on 18 October 1878. At just 14 years old he attempted to enlist with the West Yorkshire Regiment in York on the 2nd November 1892, claiming he was 18 years old. Eight days later he was discharged with a payment of £1. In the face of this set back he continued with his apprenticeship as a saddler with Mrs Rymer in Northallerton. It is likely that he re-enlisted again sometime after reaching the age of 18 years as a photograph taken in the early 1900s shows him in uniform as a Lance Corporal. In 1918 he married and was still employed as a saddler with H Myers in Richmond Market Place.

On 26th December 1914 he presented himself for enlistment into the Royal Engineers. It is said within the family that he was told if he enlisted early he could keep his trade of saddler whilst serving. Sadly Sapper Wright’s papers did not survive the bombings of the Second World War and therefore it is not known which unit he originally served with but he was initially sent to Egypt on 7th August 1915. He certainly served in France for some time as numerous embroidered cards survive which he sent to his wife and children. By the end of the war in 1918 he was serving with 5 Corps Signals Company Royal Engineers.

Harry likely returned to England in the spring of 1919, having spent some time at Oldway Mansion, Paignton in Devon which was transformed into the American Womens Relief Hospital. His statement of conduct describes him as a man who has “proved himself an excellent worker at his trade. He is thoroughly trustworthy”.

He was discharged to the reserve on 27th June 1919. For his service in the Great War he received the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.

 

Harry digging a practice trench

Hospital (bottom right)

Statement of Conduct

Return to the ribbon

Explore more memories from the ribbon

  • Major Charles Organ

    Photographic research by Stuart Hodgson. Charles Organ had a long career in the army before arriving at Richmond Depot and acting as Recruiting Officer during the First World War, as his record from our museum catalogue recounts: Born at Woolwich 13th October 1853. Charles Organ joined as a Private 13th January 1873, Corporal 11th October 1873, Sergeant 15th August 1874, Colour Sergeant 27th August 1875, promoted to RSM on the 20th April 1882 and QM 1883, Hon. Captain 8th August 1893, Hon. Major 29th November 1900. He served in Bermuda, Halifax, Malta, Egypt, Cyprus, Egypt, Gibraltar and South Africa. He was employed as the Regimental Transport Officer 12th Dec 1900 – Sept 1902. Retired on 1st September 1902 but was then appointed QM the Royal Hospital Chelsea October 1903 – 1st September 1912, Created a MVO by King Edward July 1905. He served in the Nile Expedition 1885, Sudan Frontier Force, 1885-6, Boer War 1899-1902 including operations around Colesberg, actions at Paardeberg, Kitchener’s Kop, Proplar Grove and Drifontein and the occupation of Bloemfontein, was with the advance on Dewetsdorp, and action at Leuukop, in the march to Pretoria, actions at Brandfort, Kroonstadt, Vet and Zand rivers, and Johannesburg: took part in the advance eastwards, including the battles of Diamond Hill and Belfast – mentioned in despatches. He served with the Depot between August and November 1914 and then appointed as Staff Recruiting Officer in December 1915 becoming the Sub Area Commander for Gosport on the 19th February 1916. Died at…

  • Jack Bell

    Story submitted by Mrs Drury. Jack (John Adam) Bell was the son of a gamekeeper at Langdon Beck in Teesdale, County Durham. He grew up in the countryside a became a railway clerk. When he joined the army and went to experience life in the trenches he had the horror of standing next to a fellow soldier when his head was blown off. Jack also had to endure the news that his own brother had been killed. Jacks country knowledge became most useful in the mire of Flanders. He would cut trenches to make a sleeping place out of the mud, trap rabbits and stew them in a metal helmet. He would look after horses for officers who had never had to look after their own mounts before. He described how starved the horses were near the front line – the near stampedes when fodder was brought and how the horses gnawed each others’ manes and tails for food. He remembered how long the cavalry had to stand mounted and how weak horses collapsed. Remounts were needed constantly and Jack was sent in to break in and train them. He was stationed on the Thames, possibly at Tilbury, to receive horses, practically wild sent by ship from South America and often in a sorry state on arrival. He had six weeks to prepare each batch (size unknown) for dispatch abroad. During this training Jack rode these recovered and lively horses with a ladies side saddle as he said it was…

  • Metcalfe Close

    Submitted by Pat Burgess. Ralph Metcalfe and Elizabeth Close were possibly unmarried when their eldest son was born towards the end of 1893 at Gunnerside. Hence he was given his father’s surname as a christian name and his mothers surname name. Ralph and Elizabeth were both born in Swaledale, he in Muker, and she at Melbecks. In 1901 the family, which now included another two sons and two daughters, was living at Fell House, Hartley, Nr. Kirkby Stephen. Metcalfe enlisted at Richmond, as it appears he was working at Browson Bank Farm, on the A66, at that time. His Battalion was sent to fight in Palestine, where sadly he contracted malaria and died on 14 June 1918. He is buried in Gaza War Cemetery.