Thomas was born in Dunsby in the summer of 1894 to John Joseph Wand, born in Morton, a farm labourer and his wife Mary Ann Grange Vickers born in Bourne. They were married in 1891 and lived in Bulby before settling in Dunsby. They had 13 children although sadly they lost 3 of them before 1911.
- George William Wand, 1891, Bulby
Beatrice Wand, 1892, Bulby
Thomas Wand, 1894, Dunsby
Gertrude Wand, 1896, Dunsby
Eliza Wand 1897, Dunsby
Lily Wand, 1900, Dunsby
Harry Wand, 1902, Dunsby
Charles Robert Wand, 1904, Dunsby
Annie May Wand, 1907, Dunsby
Emily Wand, 1908, Dunsby
Thomas had moved away from his parents before 1911 and was living with the Haresign family in Pinchbeck working as a horseman on the farm.
Thomas enlisted into the army and was posted into the 7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment but at some point was posted to the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire regiment. As the dates are not known then it is difficult to say exactly which actions Thomas was involved in other than the final action that cost him his life.
In early December 1917 the 2nd Battalion was in the line at Bourlon Wood and an extract from the Battalion Diaries describes Thomas’ last days.
3rd December 1917 – Bourlon Wood
Enemy Machine Gun fired at intervals throughout the night. We suffered 2 casualties
4th December 1917 – Bourlon Wood
Enemy activity again confined to artillery fire. In order to reduce the salient of which our line forms part, a withdrawal was carried out to the Flesquires Line. Pack ponies and limbers were brought up and ammunition and stores were removed before the withdrawal commenced. The withdrawal was made from the left by platoon. One platoon remained behind in the centre company’s frontage to cover the withdrawal. The first company commenced the withdrawal about 9:45pm and it continued in good order platoons moved independently across country to Flesquieres and took up their allotted position in the Flesquieres line. The enemy seemed totally unaware of the withdrawal. There was no fire from the artillery beyond the ordinary routine firing on the right. The withdrawal was concluded in good order, without casualties and dispositions taken up at Flesquieres as follows.
The existing trenches N and NW of Flesquieres between the limits K.18b.2.2 and K.17 d.8.6 were held by A and B companies with C and D companies in support in the support line about K.24 Battalion HQ in dugout K.24.a.1.b.
No signs of the enemy following up were observed until about 3.0pm when motor lorries were seen in Fontaine-Notre-Dame and small bodies of enemy were seen in neighbourhood of Bourlon Wood. Our front was with two Companies of the 2/4th Lincolns. At night we commenced digging.
5th December 1917 – Flesquieres
A new front line trench running from K.18.a.70.45 to K.17.b.8.5 thus bringing the front line up to the advanced posts of the 1/6th london Regiment on our left. On the right were the 2/5th Leicester Regiment. This new front line trench was dug to 3’6 and occupied by seven lewis gun posts. During the digging the enemy shelled continuously inflicting bout a dozen casualties. Captain H N Newsum was sent down suffering from shell gas.
6th December 1917 – Flesquieres
3.0pm – Our outpost line fell back on our front line trenches and an enemy attack developed. The brunt of the attack fell on the 2/5th Leicester Regiment on our right and no enemy came up against our trenches although we were able to bring fire to bear on those advancing against the right Battalion. Enemy shelling was heavy and we sustained some twenty casualties.
Patrols were sent out to battalion on the right and left to keep in touch. Communication difficulties owing to enemy shelling.
8.0pm – Work was continued on the new front line commenced last night and a new communications trench commenced from K.18a.3.5 to K.18c.2.8. This trench was dug 3 feet wide and 3’6 deep during the night. Fighting patrols were sent out during the night to prevent the enemy reconnoitring our line and to prevent him from digging in near our line. Harassing fire by artillery and machine guns was arranged during the night to prevent the enemy digging.
Lieut Garrad sent down suffering from effects of shell gas.
Although no men killed or missing are mentioned specifically, we have to assume that Thomas Wand was killed during this period, most likely from shelling by the enemy either during the withdrawal or the artillery fire on the digging parties.
Commonwealth War Graves:
In memory of Thomas Wand, 21543 2nd./5th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 6th December 1917. Son of J J Wand of Dunsby Fen, Bourne, Lincs. Remembered with honour, Orival Wood Cemetery, Flesquieres.
Lest we forget.