Lance Corporal 13411 Thomas Timothy Smith Bourne 6th Battalion Ox & Bucks Light Infantry
Killed in Action 3rd September 1916
The recovery of this memorial is quite remarkable. In October 2020 we were contacted by a lady enquiring as to whether we could take into care a memorial to her uncle. That is all we were told but when the story unfolded it proved to be a truly inspiring story of luck and persistence.
It is a headstone to Lance Corporal 13411 Thomas Timothy Smith Bourne who served with 6th Battalion Ox & Bucks Light Infantry and was killed in the advance of 59th Brigade on the village of Guillemont on 3rd September 1916 and who is remembered on The Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10A and 10D.
He was the son of Ernest Edward and Amy Elizabeth Bourne, of Michael Villa, Donisthorpe, Burton-on-Trent. Ernest Edward was a coal miner and very devout Methodist and the family attended Donisthorpe Methodist Chapel on the Moira Road three times a day on Sundays.
To commemorate their son, his parents had a marble tablet erected on the chapel wall. As in so many cases the chapel closed and was demolished and a new chapel built across the road also subsequently closing in 2010 and is now the The Lewis Charlton Learning Centre. The tablet had slipped from memory.
In early 2020 a game of football was being played in the school yard. A hefty kick and the ball flew over a shed roof. The master, Richard Clay went to retrieve it and there was the tablet in a fairly filthy state.
By great good fortune, Richard Clay has been a military historian for over 40 years and thus knew his way round the various possible archives. He was intrigued by this find and took the considerable trouble to try to find a descendant and eventually tracked down a niece – a remarkable feat in itself, many years on from it being rudely dumped. She had it cleaned and requested we take it into care. We are so pleased that Thomas Timothy Smith Bourne’s headstone can once more be seen and honoured and his sacrifice remembered.
All Saints Church, Highcross St, Leicester LE1 4PH