1918 - Tom Razey (also written as Raizey and Raisey) WW1

Tom was a true ‘native’ of Huish his family had lived in the village for generations.  He was born in 1896 to John Razey and Mary Ann nee Farr, his father was an Engineman who worked on the farm. On the 1911 Census Tom was working as a Domestic Gardener, his service records were also lost during the Blitz so no actual date of enlistment is known

He enlisted at Pewsey and joined the Wiltshire Yeomanry as Private Tom Razey No 22724. On the 20.9.1917 the Wiltshire Yeomanry (14 officers and 232 men) amalgamated with the 6th and became 6th (Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry) Battalion.

The year 1918 began with what commonly became known as the ‘German Spring Offensive’, the Western Front at that time was at stalemate. The Russians had decided to withdraw from the war releasing German troops from the Eastern Front and the Americans were about to enter the war, time was now of the essence either of these forces could make a huge difference to the outcome of the war. The Germans decided to strike first against a side that was badly depleted and lacked properly trained reinforcements.

At 11.30 a.m on the 22nd March 1918 the 6th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment moved to Morchies and consolidated a 3rd line of defence from Morchies village to Sugar Factory on the Bapaume road At 4p.m the enemy attacked, this was checked by shell, Lewis gun and rifle fire, heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy.  At 5pm a counter attack was made by tanks, the enemy was thrown back and further advance checked for the day.

Tom was killed in action during this battle aged 22, he has no known grave but is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

The Battalion War Diary states: ‘The stand made by the Battalion at Morchies from 4pm on the 22nd to 5pm on the 23rd and all that it meant is a glorious episode in the history of the Wiltshire Regiment.  It is a heroic record of self-sacrifice stemming the victorious rush of a superior enemy and a model lesson of a rearguard fight.

Only one officer, one sergeant and 18 other ranks came out of the struggle.’

Tom’s family received his soldier’s effects of £6.12s 8d and his Victory and British Medal.

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