Moorehead, James Thomas (Thomas)
No. 34867, 6th/7th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
Killed in action on Monday 23 April 1917
Monchy British Cemetery, Monchy-Le-Preux, France (Grave I. F. 23)
In some records his surname is spelt Morehead and in others Moorhead.
In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Private Thomas Moorehead (No. 34867) was born in Bangor, Co Down, lived in Kilmarnock and enlisted in Ayr. Private Thomas Moorehead (No. 34867) served with the 6th/7th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers and was killed in action on 23 April 1917. He was buried in Monchy British Cemetery, France.
In Irish Civil Registration records it is recorded that James Thomas Moorehead was born on 2 August 1885 in Conlig and that he was a son of Mary Moorehead, a weaver. His father’s name was not recorded. His older sister, Emma Moorehead, was born on 29 June 1883 in Conlig and she was registered as a daughter of John Moorehead (deceased, formerly of Conlig) and Mary Moorehead (nee Gamble). In 1901 Emma Moorehead (aged 16) was boarding with James and Agnes Whitla in Wallace’s Street No. 2, Newtownards. Emma Moorehead worked as a twister in a spinning mill.
John Moorehead, a labourer from Conlig, and Mary Gamble were married on 6 July 1881 in Second Bangor Presbyterian Church. John Moorehead was a son of William Moorehead, a labourer. Mary Gamble from Belfast was a daughter of James Gamble, a shopkeeper.
At least two deaths of a John Moorehead in Newtownards are recorded in Irish Civil Registration records:
John Moorehead (aged 70), a married Army pensioner from Wallace’s Street Newtownards died of bronchitis on 27 December 1883; his daughter-in-law, Ellen Moorehead, was with him when he died.
John Moorehead (aged 56), a bachelor and an Army pensioner from Wallace’s Lane Newtownards died of bronchitis on 18 March 1892; his son, John Moorehead, was with him when he died.
Neither of these deaths are consistent with the declaration in Emma Moorehead’s civil birth registration record that her father, John Moorehead, was deceased was deceased when she was born on 29 June 1883.
Mary Moorehead (nee Gamble), a widow from Conlig, and Samuel Whitla, a weaver and a widower from Conlig, were married on 30 June 1887 in Conlig Presbyterian Church. Samuel Whitla was a son of Samuel Whitla, a weaver. Mary Moorehead was a daughter of James Gamble, a grocer.
James Thomas Moorehead (known as Thomas) moved to Scotland where he lived in Newmilns, Ayrshire and worked as a hammerman – a blacksmith striker in a locomotive works. Thomas Moorehead and Rachel Sloan Pollock, both from Newmilns, Ayrshire were married on 29 June 1906 in Newmilns. Thomas Moorehead was registered as a son of John and Mary Moorehead (nee Gemmell, probably a variation of Gamble), both deceased. Rachel Sloan Pollock was registered as a daughter of John and Mary Pollock (nee Sloan). John Pollock and Mary Sloan, both from Newmilns, Ayrshire were married on 23 May 1884 in Trinity Scottish Episcopal Church, Kilmarnock.
Thomas and Rachel Moorehead (nee Pollock) had at least six children:
Mary (born 22 February 1908 in Newmilns, Ayrshire)
John (born 30 April 1909 in Newmilns, Ayrshire)
Alexander Sloan (born 14 November 1910 in First Wallace’s Street, Newtownards)
Rachel (born 18 May 1912)
Emma (born 1 December 1914)
James Thomas (born January 1916; died of enteritis at 72 Robertson Place, Kilmarnock on 28 August 1917, aged 1 year 7 months)
Thomas Moorehead, a hammerman aged 28 years 2 months, enlisted in Kilmarnock on 12 October 1914. He declared that he was born in Conlig, Bangor, Co Down and that he had previous service with the 3rd/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers. It was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 6 inches tall with a sallow complexion, grey eyes and black hair; that his wife’s name was Rachel Sloan Moorehead and she lived at 72 Robertson Place, Kilmarnock. Thomas Moorehead was appointed to the 4th Reserve Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (No. 8152) and served on the Home Front until he was discharged ‘in consequence of Paragraph 392 (xxi) King’s Regulations’ on 5 June 1916 after 1 year 237 days in service.
Thomas Moorehead of 72 Robertson Place, Kilmarnock belonged to the Army Reserve when he was called to appear at Ayr Barracks at 10.00 am on 20 July 1916 for the purpose of joining the colours. The letter was dated 5 July 1916 and a railway warrant was enclosed.
Thomas Moorehead, a hammerman from 72 Robertson Place, Kilmarnock enlisted on 20 July 1916 in Ayr. He was deemed fit to serve in General Service and was appointed to the 6th/7th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (No. 9913 and subsequently No. 34867). He declared that he was 31 years old and it was noted that he had previous service of 1 year 237 days in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. It was also noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 5½ inches tall and that his next-of-kin was ‘Rachel Pollock or Moorehead’ of 72 Robertson Place, Kilmarnock. It was further noted that he had defective teeth and had tattoos on his right forearm – a heart with the letters RP and a scroll with a shamrock and the word MOOREHEAD. Thomas Moorehead alleged that he had ‘an old injury to his back’ – but the examining officer found that ‘there was no evidence’.
After Private Thomas Moorehead (No. 34867) was killed, it was noted in his Army records that his personal property and his medals were to be sent to his widow, Mrs Rachel S. Moorehead. With effect from 17 December 1917 Rachel Moorehead was awarded a pension of £1/11/3 per week for herself and her five surviving children.
It was noted in Private Thomas Moorehead‘s Army records that his widow, Rachel, re-married and she became Mrs Rachel Hill of 42 Canal Street, Saltcoats, Ayrshire. James Hill and Rachel Sloan Moorehead (nee Pollock) were married on 27 December 1918 in Kilmarnock. In relation to the death of Private Thomas Moorehead (No. 34867), it was as Rachel Hill that she acknowledged receipt of Memorial Scroll and Letter from His Majesty the King on 12 July 1920.
In Private Thomas Moorehead‘s Army records it was noted that his parents were dead, he had no brothers living and his sister, Mrs Emma Stratton, lived at 28 Second Wallace’s Street (Wallace’s Street No. 2), Newtownards.
Samuel Stratton, an ex-seaman from 78 William Street, Newtownards and Emily (Emma) Moorehead from 31 West Street, Newtownards were married on 2 March 1909 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office. Samuel Stratton was a son of Moses Stratton, a miller. Emily (Emma) Moorehead was a daughter of John Moorehead, a labourer.
Private Thomas Moorehead (No. 34867) served on the Home Front from 20 July 1916 until 19 December 1916 and in France from 20 December 1916 until 23 April 1917 when he was killed in action; he had re-joined his unit on 23 March 1917 after a month in hospital in Rouen suffering from diarrhoea.
Private Thomas Moorehead (No. 34867) was buried in Monchy British Cemetery, France.