Tom Houseman
1890 - 1961
Below is a description received from the
York and Lancaster Regimental museum
about Tom's battalion following my request for information

Tom Houseman served with the 8th  Battalion of the York and Lancaster  Regiment in one of the
most successful actions of the war, The Battle of  Messines. When he joined the Battalion they
were occupying the Observatory  Ridge / Hooge sector preparing for the offensive.

The objective of the attack  was to clear the high ground that dominated the Ypres Salient and
prevent the  enemy from putting them under constant observation. The first phase of the  assault
began at 3.30am on the 7th June. The 8th  Battalion set off later in the  morning in the second

Although they took heavy casualties from artillery  as they moved up to the assembly position
they still managed to carry out all  their objectives as they moved along the Kleine Zillebeke spur

They held all the captured ground under artillery fire until relieved and withdrawn  on the 13th June

The Battle of Messines was one of the most complete and overwhelming  successes achieved in
trench warfare. On the day of the 7th June 1917 the  Messines and Wytschaete ridges were
captured along with the German battery  positions, including 67 artillery pieces, and 7,200

The whole was masterminded by Field Marshall Herbert Plumer, Colonel of the  York and
Lancaster Regiment.

With Thanks to:
Karl A. Noble
Collections Officer - Museums, Galleries and Heritage Service
Environment and Development Services
Tom Houseman was aged 25 years & 135 days when he was attested for entry to the Military service on
the 8 December 1915.
A medical examination took place that recorded him as standing 5’ 71/5 “ tall and having a chest
measurement of 37 inches. He was found fit for service.

Tom was employed as a tram driver at the time of his enlistment. His address is given as 17 Queen's
Road, Shipley. He was married, and gave as his next of kin his wife Edith Pinder of 17 Queen's Road,
Shipley /and 4 Brittania Road, Bingley.

It is recorded that he was married at the Wesleyan Chapel, Bingley on the 23 October 1912 and he had
a daughter Emily Mary born on the 9 January 1914 at Shipley.

He signed the declaration on the attestation form, swore an oath and received the “King’s shilling”.
Tom was then accepted into the army as a Private. He was instructed to return home and to continue
civilian life while he was formally on the Army Reserve, awaiting call up.

He duly received notice and was mobilised on 29 January 1917. Tom was posted to the 85 Training ATS
for training.

He arrived in France on the 25 April 1917 and was posted to the 8th  Btn York & Lancaster Regiment as
Private no 32490 on the 12 May.

In France

The 8th  B York & Lancaster regiment were part of the 70th Brigade of the 23rd Division.
Formed at Frensham near Aldershot in September 1914 as part of the Third New Army.

Arrived in France in August 1915. Served in France and Flanders until November 1917 when the Division
moved to Italy. Served in Italy until the Armistice (04 November 1918).

The following battles and engagements were undertaken by the 23rd  Division.
Tom may have participated in some or all of them.


Battle of Messines  (incl the capture of Wytschaete (7-14 June)).

On the 14 June he was posted back to the base depot. On the 31 August he was transferred to the
Command Depot in Ripon and then back in to reserve on the 30 November 1917 and was discharged on
the 14 December 1918.

Whilst in Reserve Tom was in the 3rd York & Lancaster Regiment (a reserve regiment).

Tom’s discharge papers indicate that he had ‘aggravated asthma’

Because of his overseas service in a theatre  of war he was qualified  to wear the British War Medal
and Victory Medal. The medals were posted to him in 1921.
Private - service number 32490
8th York & Lancaster Regiment
Battalions of the Regular Army

1st Battalion
August 1914 : in Jubbulpore in India. Returned to England 23 December 1914. Moved to Hursley Park and joined 83rd
Brigade in 28th Division.
17 January 1915 : landed at Le Havre.
Moved to Egypt in October 1915 and thence to Salonika, arriving in early December.

2nd Battalion
August 1914 : at Limerick. Part of 16th Brigade in 6th Division. Moved to Cambridge.
9 September 1914 : landed at St Nazaire.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
August 1914 : at Pontefract. A depot/training unit, it moved on mobilisation to Cleadon and in January 1915 went on to
Sunderland. Moved in August 1915 to Durham but returned to Sunderland in February 1916 where it remained as part of
the Tyne Garrison.

Battalions of the Territorial Force

1/4th (Hallamshire) Battalion
August 1914 : in Sheffield. Part of 3rd West Riding Brigade, West Riding Division. Moved on mobilisation to Doncaster.
Moved in November 1914 to Gainsborough, going on in February 1915 to York.
14 April 1915 : landed at Boulogne.
15 May 1915 : formation became 148th Brigade in 49th (West Riding) Division.

1/5th Battalion
August 1914 : in Rotherham. Record same as 1/4th Bn.

2/4th (Hallamshire) Battalion
Formed at Sheffield on 21 September 1914 as a second line unit. Moved in March 1915 to Bulwell and joined 187th Brigade
in 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division. Moved to Strenshall in April 1915, Beverley in May, Gateshead in November, Larkhill in
January 1916, Flixton Park (Bungay) in June and finally Wellingborough in October.
January 1917: landed at Le Havre.

2/5th Battalion
Formed at Rotherham on 3 October 1914 as a second line unit. Record same as 2/4th Bn.
3 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

3/4th and 3/5th Battalions
Formed at home bases in March 1915. Moved to Clipstone.
8 April 1916 : renamed 4th and 5th Reserve Bns.
1 September 1916 : 4th absorbed the 5th Bn. Moved to Rugeley in October 1917 and on 23 July 1918 went to Woodbridge,
finally moving to Southend on 19 October 1918.

Battalions of the New Armies

6th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Pontefract in August 1914 as part of K1 and became part of 32nd Brigade in 11th (Northern) Division. Moved
initially to Grantham. Moved to Witley in April 1915.
3 July 1915 : sailed from Liverpool for Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay 6 August 1915.
Evacuated from Gallipoli December 1915, moved to Egypt via Imbros.
Moved to France in July 1916.

7th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
Formed at Pontefract in August 1914 as part of K2 and became part of 51st Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division. Moved to
March 1915 : converted into Pioneer Battalion for same Division. Moved to Hursley Park in May 1915.
14 July 1915 : landed at Boulogne.

8th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Pontefract in September 1914 as part of K3 and became part of 70th Brigade in 23rd Division. Moved to
Frensham, and on to Aldershot in November. Moved to Hythe in February 1915 and went on in May to Bordon.
27 August 1915 : landed at Boulogne.
18 October 1915: transferred with Brigade to 8th Division.
17 July 1916: returned with Brigade to 23rd Division.
November 1917: moved to Italy with 23rd Division.

9th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Pontefract in September 1914 as part of K3 and became part of 70th Brigade in 23rd Division. Record same as
8th Bn.

10th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Pontefract in September 1914 as part of K3 and became part of 63rd Brigade in 21st Division. Moved to Halton
Park, going on to Leighton Buzzard in December 1914 and then Tring in May 1915. Finally moved to Witley in August.
11 September 1915 : landed at Boulogne.
8 July 1916: transferred with Brigade to 37th Division.
4 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

11th (Reserve) Battalion
Formed in September 1914 as part of K3 and became part intended for 63rd Brigade in 21st Division but transferred to K4
and attached to 90th Brigade, original 33rd Division at Harrogate.
10 April 1915 : became a Reserve Battalion and moved soon afterwards to Otley. Moved on to Rugeley Camp
(Cannock Chase) in November 1915.
1 September 1916 : absorbed into Training Reserve Battalions of 2nd Reserve Brigade at Rugeley.

12th (Service) Battalion (Sheffield)
Often known by its original name of the Sheffield City Battalion.
Formed in Sheffield on 5 September 1914 by the Mayor and Town.
May 1915 : moved to Penkridge Camp (Cannock Chase) and attached to 94th Brigade in 31st Division. Went to Ripon in July
915 and on to Salisbury Plain in October.
December 1915 : moved to Egypt. Went on to France in March 1916.
17 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

13th (Service) Battalion (Barnsley)
Often known by its original name of the Barnsley Pals.
Formed in Barnsley on 17 September 1914 by the Mayor and Town. Moved to Silkstone in December 1914.
May 1915 : moved to Penkridge Camp (Cannock Chase) and attached to 94th Brigade in 31st Division. Went to Ripon in July
1915 and on to Salisbury Plain in October.
December 1915 : moved to Egypt. Went on to France in March 1916.

14th (Service) Battalion (Barnsley)
Often known by its original name of the 2nd Barnsley Pals.
Formed in Barnsley on 30 November 1914 by the Mayor and Town. Record same as 13th Bn.
16 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

15th (Reserve) Battalion
Formed at Silkstone in July 1915 from depot companies of 12th, 13th and 14th Bns. Moved to Brocton (Cannock Chase) in
November, on to Colsterdale in December. in July 1916, moved to Newsham, near Blyth.
1 September 1916 : converted into 91st Training Reserve Battalion in 21st Reserve Brigade at Blyth.

Other Battalions

16th (Transport Workers) Battalion
Formed at Colsterdale in March 1916. Moved to Durham in December 1916 and then Catterick in November 1917 where it
then remained.

17th (Labour) Battalion
Formed at Brocklesby in July 1916. Moved to France that month and was attached to Lines of Communication. Became
30th and 31st Labour Companies of the Labour Corps in May 1917.

18th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Margate on 11 June 1918, absorbing the cadre of the 2/7th Bn, the West Yorkshire Regiment.
11 June 1918 : attached to 41st Brigade in 14th (Light) Division.
3 July 1918 : landed at Boulogne.
The York & Lancaster Regiment
= Battle of Messines
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Western Front 1914 -1918