Thomas (Tommy) Ferguson was born in Flint on 30th November, 1888 and baptised on 23rd December, 1888 at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Flint. He was the fifth of nine children to Thomas Ferguson and Alice (Metcalfe). They lived at 26, Castle Street before settling at No. 35.
Tommy’s mother, Alice, was born in Holywell and died 2nd March, 1900, aged 41, at her home in Castle Street, Flint, just three days after giving birth to a son named William, who himself died five days later. She was probably buried in Pantasaph Cemetery.
Thomas Senior was born in Holywell and died in June, 1907, aged 48, after a lingering illness and buried in Pantasaph Cemetery. He was a brickyard labourer and formerly a chemical labourer and fish dealer.
Tommy enlisted in Flint in August, 1914 and landed at Zeebrugge on 7th October, 1914.
He was killed in action in the Battle of Festubert, France, along with Corporal Thomas Henry Roberts and Lance-Corporal Charles Videon Williams, on 16th May, 1915.
He has no known grave but is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial, France on Panels 13 and 14.
He is remembered on three war memorials: St Mary’s Catholic Church, Flint, Bagillt Village and St Mary’s Parish Church, Bagillt.
He was awarded the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
It was reported that Tommy was married, and that his wife resided at Pentre Bach, Bagillt, but no record of this marriage could be found. His occupation is unknown.
The news reached Flint on Thursday morning 27th May, 1915 about the gallant work done by the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the storming of a portion of the enemy’s line in France, but unfortunately at a severe cost, and the sad news was contained in a letter sent home by Private Laurence Ferguson of the death in action of three local lads who were all from the same regiment: Corporal Tom Roberts, Lance-Corporal Charles V Williams and Private Thomas Ferguson.
The letter containing the sad news, which had not been officially confirmed, was received by Mrs T Campbell, 75, Mumforth Street, from her brother, Private Lawrence Ferguson. He wrote that he supposed she had heard of the death of their brother, Tom Ferguson, who although a member of the 3rd Battalion, was attached to the 1st Battalion in France. He wrote:
“Well, don’t worry, he died for his King and country, and we must be proud of him. His name will now appear in the Roll of Honour as one of our gallant heroes who died for a great cause. There was many a mother’s son who fell on Sunday, the 16th May My regiment has covered itself with glory. We were first to take the enemy’s trenches, and, my God, the devils who were spared on the other side will have cause to remember the gallant charge of the 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers. We never looked behind, but went straight to the heart of the enemy. I am sorry to say Corporal Tom Roberts and Corporal C Williams were also killed in action on Sunday. Sergeant Jones was wounded. I put a bandage round the wound, but he bore up gallantly. We were under very heavy shell fire for three whole days. Our General spoke to the remains of the regiment this morning and thanked us for the gallant work which we had done by heading the attack of the Divisions.”
Private Lawrence Ferguson concluded that there were some awful sights on the battlefield, which he would never forget. He further stated that the Royal Welsh Fusiliers performed a gallant deed in the battle, and were engaged in a desperate bayonet charge and that when the call came the charge was made; there was no lagging behind; and the result was that the regiment made its mark.
Mrs T Campbell received another letter from her brother Private Lawrence Ferguson, who was with the Machine Gun Section of the 1st Royal Welsh Fusilier’s Battalion. Private Ferguson’s letter was couched in endearing terms to his sister, and in tragic and pathetic terms respecting the death of his brother Private Thomas Ferguson, and other Flint comrades who fell in a great charge in Flanders. The particulars in the letter assisted in elucidating somewhat a mystery in respect of the statements as to Corporal Tom Roberts and Lance Corporal C Williams of Flint, who were reported by the War Office as having been killed in the battle referred to. Ferguson commenced his letter in thanking his sisters for their kindness in sending him weekly the “good old County Herald,” and he received a letter and a paper on the 30th May. The last he saw of his brother, Private T Ferguson, was on the evening before the great charge, when “he came to my billet and shook hands with me and said he hoped we would both come through tomorrow’s battle safe and sound. But a great chum of Tommy brought me the news of how Tommy met his death”. He continued:
“God bless them; they died for a great cause – their King and country. When you write again I would thank you for a little news as to the welfare of Sergeant J Jones, of Flint, whom I bandaged during the attack. I sincerely hope he is in the pink; poor chap, he had a nasty wound. I agree with the letter in the “County Herald” from Private J Jones, in which he says that the Germans are a lot of pigs. I was myself present on the parade when the General spoke of the Welsh Fusiliers; and I also witnessed the white flag trick which the Germans so often use, with their cries of “Mercy” and “Comrade;” but all those things did not work with the boys of the Gallant 23rd. If they had left it to the boys there would not have been left one German to tell the tale; but those who were left or spared in that battle will, I am sure, have cause to remember the boys of the Gallant 1st RWF, who went for them “hell-for-leather.” Such gallant deeds have never before been known. We took a parapet that morning, in the highest spirits – quite undaunted of any fears.”
Mrs Ferguson, widow of Private T Ferguson, received a sympathetic letter from Private Lawrence Ferguson, saying he is in the pink of condition.
“My dear brother died fighting for his King and country, and moreover, I am pleased to say he died the death of a hero. It so happened that on the Sunday morning my regiment were ordered to take up positions and make an attack upon the enemy, which we did in gallant style, driving the German devils hell for leather from trench to trench and showing no quarter. The boys of the RWF have left their mark on that portion of the enemy in that never to be forgotten charge. I am pleased to say I came out of that charge myself without a scratch, and I am now prepared for the next. The more we strike the quicker the end. It is all for a good cause. My regiment suffered heavy losses, but the gain was great.”
Tommy’s brother, Laurence, served in the army for eight years from 9th March, 1911 to 16th March, 1919, as a Private, first with the RWF, and ended his service with the Machine Gun Corps, No. 19190. During the war he was awarded the Mons Star. He married Sarah Wiggins (c.1895–1942), widow of Private Reuben Wiggins, and died in 1958, aged 65.