Remembrance Day: Thomas Foy

poppyIf the saying that “war is hell” is true, then the Battle of the Somme in World War I was the perfect example of this hell. On the first day of the battle, 1 July 1916, there were 57,000 casualties, and the battle would drag on until 18 November 1916. Within a week, the battle was at a standstill with Germans, French and British forces grinding it out in a maze of trench warfare.

It was at the end of the first week that the Monmouthshire Regiment was thrown into action as a pioneer regiment, which meant that they were to create the trenches and defensive positions used by the fighting force. Monmouthshire, Wales was a mining region, and the engineering skills of the miners-turned-soldiers made them well suited for the task. In this regiment was Thomas Foy, a 37-year old sergeant who had been called to serve.

Thomas was the brother of my great great grandmother, Bridget Foy Groucutt. While Bridget and several siblings immigrated to the United States, Thomas remained in England. On 5 June 1915, with the war well underway, he embarked to France with the 3rd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment.

They found themselves at the Somme in July 1916 under withering artillery fire. On 7 July 1916, on the front lines, Sergeant Foy found himself just a few feet from his company’s commanding officer, Captain J. Merton Jones, who wrote in the casualty report:

I believe [Thomas Foy] was killed as I saw a shell (believed to be a 5.9) pitch, as it appeared to me in the night,  full upon him. I was about 2 to 3 yards from him and a minute previously had been [?] to him. Sever others pitched in the same spot afterwards and then getting away the wounded, I could not find Foy then, nor afterwards, neither did any man or stretcher-bearer help him to any Dressing Station. I therefore believe he was killed.

 

thomas_foy_snippet2

My third-great-uncle Thomas Foy was killed at the Battle of the Somme on 7 July 1916, one of over 95,000 British soldiers to die on this French battlefield. He is buried at the Mill Road Cemetery in Thiepval, France.

thomas_foy_1916_headstone_findagrave

Source:
“British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920,” images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/image/510132225 : accessed 13 Nov 2016), record for Thomas Foy, 3rd Monmouthshire Regiment, page 325; National Archives of the UK, London, England.

Photo of the Day – March 23, 2015

I can’t put a specific date or location on this photo, but my grandmother Jean Groucutt Lowry and her mother-in-law Margaret Pepperney Lowry look to be on a road trip. They probably stopped for gas or a quick bite to eat and one of their husbands asked for a quick photo. Neither looks particularly happy to be posing for the camera.
Source:
Mary Margaret Pepperney Lowry (1902-1980) and Jean Groucutt Lowry (1924-1986), photograph, taken at unknown location, in late 1940s; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2013 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Mary McCaffrey, [address for private use], Canton, Ohio. Two women standing in front of a restaurant. Provenance is Charles Lowry to Mary McCaffrey.

Photo of the Day – January 15, 2015

This is my grandmother Jean Groucutt Lowry around 1940.
This is post number 200 to my blog. Thanks for reading!

Source:
Jean Groucutt Lowry (1924-1987), photograph, taken at unknown location, in about 1940; digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2013 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Mary McCaffrey, [address for private use], Canton, Ohio. Portrait of woman in white shirt with wide collar. Provenance is Charles Lowry to Mary McCaffrey.

Photo of the Day – January 9, 2015

According to news reports, gladioli and larkspur graced the altar for the wedding of my great-aunt Kathleen Groucutt and Bob Sullivan on 13 Jul 1946. Kathleen’s sister, my grandmother Jean (Lowry), was maid of honor. Bob’s friend Phil Welsh served as best man. Kathleen and Bob were married at Saint Columba Cathedral by Rev. James Malone. Fr. Malone would become bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown in 1968.

Sentimental Sunday – Healthcare News

This story was written by my uncle Chuck Lowry and shared with his siblings. It’s published here with permission.

I thought with all the healthcare news around, I would offer three pieces of healthcare trivia from the Groucutt clan.

* Uncle Dickie was in the army, though I was a very small child at the time. I recall that Mother and Daddy Groc had a picture of him, in uniform, on a table in their living room on Elm Street, an apartment I think most of you will not remember. A bunch of the aunts and uncles were around, and I looked at the picture and said, “Oh, Uncle Dickie was in the army. Where was he shot?” That occasioned a great deal of hilarity. I don’t know any more about Dick’s military service now than I did then, but he didn’t get shot, thank God. In my defense, who was the only soldier I knew at that time? Dad. Who did get shot.

* It was in that same apartment on Elm Street that mom (Jean Groucutt Lowry) fell, heavily, when very pregnant. I’m not sure which baby she was carrying at the time, but if I had to guess, I would say Mary or Joan. We were there on a late Sunday morning or early Sunday afternoon, and mom went upstairs to use the bathroom. The stairs, as I recall, were somewhat winding and were linoleum-covered. On her way downstairs, she tripped or slipped or something two or three steps from the bottom and broke her shoulder. I remember seeing her lying on the floor in a black and white maternity dress. Isn’t it amazing what you remember? Anyway, the ambulance came and took her to St. E’s, where her shoulder was tended to. Does anybody remember that?

* If my Latin is good enough to read a simple inscription, I can tell you that St.Columba Cathedral was destroyed by fire (incendio destructa) in 1954 and rebuilt (reaedificata) in 1956. Daddy Groc was a volunteer bookkeeper at the cathedral. At some point before the fire–because I remember that it was at the old cathedral, not the new one–he tripped going down the stone steps and broke his kneecap. He was in the hospital for a couple days and walked with crutches for some time after that.

Ah, the memory bank.

Sources:
Charles Lowry, Brooklyn, New York, [e-mail for private use], to Lowry Family e-mail, 2 Jul 2012, “Heath Care Notes,” Local Folders: Genealogy : Bloggable!; privately held by Joe Lowry, [e-mail &address for private use], Sterling, VA, 2012.