Griffin, Thomas (No. 57969)

Griffin, Thomas

Lance Corporal

No. 57969, 36th (Ulster) Division Signalling Company, Royal Engineers

Killed in action on Thursday 28 March 1918 (aged 35)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Pozieres Memorial, France (Panel 10 to 13)

Donaghadee and District War Memorial

Lisburn’s Dead 1914 – 1919 (Friends School Lisburn WW1 Research Project)


Thomas Griffin was born on 26 June 1882 in the townland of Ballyscolly, Lisburn and he was a son of Thomas and Rose Anne Griffin (nee Bell) who were married on 4 August 1877 in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Church Belfast.  Thomas Griffin of 10 Herbert Street Belfast worked as a labourer and he was a son of William Griffin, a labourer.  Rose Anne Bell (aged 20) of 83 York Street, Belfast worked as a servant and she was a daughter of Richard Bell, a labourer.

The Griffin family lived in the townlands of Moneycrumog, Ballyscolly and Ballyclogh, Lisburn.

Thomas and Rose Anne Griffin (nee Bell) had at least four children:

Eliza Jane (born 29 November 1877 in Moneycrumog, Lisburn)

William John (born 20 July 1879 in Moneycrumog, Lisburn)

Thomas (born 26 June 1882 in Ballyscolly, Lisburn)

Samuel (born 1 July 1891 in Ballyclogh, Magheragall, Lisburn)

Thomas Griffin worked as a gardener and he was living in Donaghadee when he and Sarah Dunn were married on 1 March 1907 in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.  Sarah Dunn (aged 20) from Donaghadee was a daughter of Francis Dunn, a shoemaker.

The Griffin family lived at 245 Belmont Road, Belfast and at 16 Margarette Terrace, Donaghadee.  Thomas and Sarah adopted Charlesina (Ina) Dunn who was born on 3 November 1903 in Back Street, Donaghadee; Ina Dunn was a daughter of Agnes (Aggie) Dunn, Sarah’s sister.

After Thomas’s father died his mother, Rose Anne Griffin, married John Hall on 12 April 1909 in Drumbeg Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Patrick’s).

Thomas Griffin enlisted in Belfast on 13 February 1915 and it was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 6⅝ inches tall with artificial teeth in both his upper and lower jaws.

During the Great War, Thomas Griffin served with the 36th (Ulster) Division Signalling Company, Royal Engineers and he went to France on 4 October 1915.

Lance Corporal Thomas Griffin (No. 57969) was 35 when he was killed in action on 28 March 1918 during the German Spring Offensive.

Lance Corporal Thomas Griffin (No. 57969) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial in France; on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and in the Lisburn’s Dead 1914 – 1919 (Friends School Lisburn WW1 Research Project).

When Lance Corporal Thomas Griffin was killed in action his wife Sarah was serving with the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC).  Following the heavy losses on the Western Front in 1916 there was concern about the reduced number of fighting soldiers in the British Army. It was concluded that too many men were doing so-called ‘soft jobs’ and it was decided to use women to replace men doing certain administrative jobs in Britain and France. These men could then be sent to fight at the Front.  In January 1917 the Government announced the establishment of the WAAC, a new voluntary service, and the plan was for these women to serve as clerks, telephonists, waitresses, cooks, and instructors in the use of gas masks.

Sarah Griffin subsequently remarried and on 18 August 1921 she signed her name as Sarah Moir when she acknowledged receipt of Lance Corporal Thomas Griffin’s trio of medals – his 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.