Thomas Harold Branston

D/819(s) Royal Marines Artillery: Gunner Anti Aircraft Brigade; Bombardier then Corporal, Howitzer Brigade

Thomas Harold Branston is one of the men named on the Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 servicemen.

Family background

Thomas Harold Branston was born 18 June1894 in Normanton Leicestershire and baptised on the 18th November at Bottesford parish church. His parents were Henry Branston, born 1861 in Bottesford, and Emma Branston was born at Farndon in 1869.

The family lived in Normanton in 1901 and 1911. In 1901, their two sons, George aged 9 and Thomas aged 6, were at school.

Henry Branston was an agricultural worker who in 1901 described himself as a horseman on a farm, then in 1911 as a waggoner.  In 1911, 16 years old Thomas was working as a farm labourer, but George had left home. Thomas himself had left home and become a policeman in Nottingham by the time he enlisted in 1915.

Service records

Thomas Harold Branston enlisted on the 17th April 1915. He joined the Royal Marine Artillery on a Short Service basis. He was 6 ft 1 inch tall, a Methodist, who had been a policeman. He gave his address as Normanton, Bottesford. He enrolled as Gunner 2nd Class, and was assigned as D/819(s) to the Anti Aircraft Brigade. After being initially at HS Brighton, he arrived at Rouen on the 30th October 1915. On the 29th February 1916 his entry said “RRF France, in the field”.

He was appointed “A/Bombardier, field”, on the 25th March, 1917, then on the 29th July 1917 he became a Bombardier with the Royal Marines Howitzer Brigade, and on the 1st January 1918 was promoted to Corporal.

The details of his War Service can be found via the National Archive on the UK Royal Marines Registers of Service Index 1842-1925.

He was added to the Absentee Voters Register of 1919: Banston, Thomas Harold, 76 Hungerhill Road, Mapperley [Nottingham], 819(s) Cpl, 5th Gunner, R.M.A. [Royal Marines Artillery]. He was demobilized on the 4th March 1919.

The Royal Marines Medal Roll has the entry: Thos Harold Branston RMA/819/S Corporal 14-15 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal.

After the end of the war

Thomas lived to be 79. He married Elsie Annie Sharpe in 1923, at Nottingham. Elsie was born on the 14th September, 1898, at North Leverton, Nottinghamshire. They lived at 76 Hungerhill Rd, Mapperley, through the early 1920s and possibly longer.

After the war he became a policeman. In the 1939 Register, Thomas H Branston, police inspector, born 18th June 1894, lived at the Police Station, Commercial Road, Nottingham, with his wife Elsie.

Thomas Harold Branston died in December, 1973, aged 79, at Long Bennington, after a short illness. His burial at Bottesford took place on the 12th December 1973. His obituary in the Grantham Journal mentioned that he had been a Chief inspector with the Nottingham Police force.

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