Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thomas Divall, Royal Engineers

Thomas David Divall was born in Ringmer, Sussex in late 1878 or early 1879, his birth being registered at Lewes in the March quarter of 1879.  He appears on the 1881 census of England and Wales living at Blunt Lane, Ringmer with his parents Thomas Divall (a 24 year old farm labourer from Ringmer), his mother, 23 year old Fanny Divall and his sister Jane Divall (aged three months).  Thomas’ age is recorded as two.

Ten years later, the family has moved to Norlington Lane, Ringmer and has grown considerably.  It now comprises Thomas and Fanny Divall (aged 35 and 34) and their seven children: Kate (aged 14), Thomas (aged 12), William (aged nine), Fanny (aged six), Frederick (aged four), Earnest [sic] (aged two) and Edith (aged one).  Jane (Harriet) Divall does not appear on the census having died in infancy aged one year old.  Her death was recorded in the March quarter for 1882 at Lewes.

I been unable to find a convincing match for Thomas Divall on the 1901 census of England & Wales.  Thomas would have been 22.  There is a 24 year old Ringmer-born Thomas Divall listed, living as a boarder at 160 Brassington Road, Paddington, West London and working as a bricklayer but I am not convinced that this is the same man.

Chailey Parish Magazine first notes T D Divall as one of several specially attested men in its January 1916 issue but he does not then re-appear until December 1917 when it is noted that Sapper T Divall is serving with the Royal Engineers.  This information is then repeated up to and including the final published roll call of Chailey-connected men in July 1919.

There is a medal index card for a Thomas Divall, giving the regimental number WR/327459. and this is possibly the same man.

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