Lance Corporal Thomas William Petrie


Thomas  was a Freemason, member of Lodge Temperance 2557 and one of our forgotten war heroes. He is not listed in the Lodge Temperance WW1 Roll of Honour although the Lodge registers clearly show he was on war service.

At the Lodge Temperance 2557 meeting held at the Assembly Rooms on the 17th March 1913, Thomas was proposed by his father Bro. Hugh Petrie and seconded by Bro. Nathan Bergman as a fit and proper person to be made a Freemason. He was a 21 year old Tailor’s cutter living at 116, Sydney Grove, Newcastle Upon Tyne. At the meeting of Monday 21st April 1913 a successful ballot was held. He was initiated into the Mysteries and Privileges of Ancient Freemasonry on the 19th May  and was passed to the second or Fellowcraft degree 16th June. He was raised to the Sublime degree of a Master Mason on Monday 21st July 1913 and signed his Grand Lodge Certificate in open Lodge at the meeting of 18th August. The Lodge minutes record that Thomas was a “Lewis”, a word used in Freemasonry to describe the son of a Mason.

Thomas was the son of Hugh Petrie, a self employed wholesale clothier, born in Newcastle Upon Tyne and Mary Jane Batie, an upholsterer, from North Shields, Northumberland. They married in Newcastle in 1891 and had four children including:

  • Thomas William (b 1891)
  • Robert (b 1895)
  • Gladys Hughina M. (b 1901)

In the 1911 census taken on the night of  April 2nd, Thomas was living with his parents Hugh and Mary Jane and siblings Robert and Gladys at 116, Sydney Grove, Newcastle Upon Tyne.  Hugh is shown as a clothier, Thomas a tailor and Robert an assistant clothier, definitley a family business.

The surviving part of Thomas’ service record relates almost entirely to his injury and subsequent medical reports. It is most likely that his full record is among the 60% of the soldiers’ Service Records irretrievably damaged or lost completely as a result of enemy bombing in 1940. However, with what remains of his service record along with his Service Medal Roll, Medal Roll Index Card and Silver War Badge records we can build up an overview of his service.

Thomas enlisted with the 15th Infantry Labour Company, Lincolnshire Regiment  and was assigned regimental no 399436 on August 12th 1915. The 15th was later redesignated as the 54th Infantry Labour Company. Thomas was then transferred to the 14th Battalion Hampshire Regiment, promoted to Lance Corporal and given Service number 205548.

On the 25th March 1918, while serving overseas,  he suffered a gun shot wound to his right shoulder and was returned to England 10 days later for treatment at the Norfolk War Hospital, formerly the Norfolk County Asylum at Thorpe. He was there nearly a month before being moved to the Prince Edward Home in the coastal resort of Hunstanton, Norfolk where he spent nearly 3 months convalescing.

He was returned to service for two months in November 1918 with the 11 Command Depot, Sutton Coldfield then to the dispersal station, Ripon where he was discharched from the army on February 18th 1919.

He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and the Silver War Badge. The Silver War Badge was issued to service personnel who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness. The badge, sometimes known as the Discharge Badge, Wound Badge or Services Rendered Badge, was a sterling silver lapel badge to be worn in civilian clothes. It had been the practice of some women to present white feathers to apparently able-bodied young men who were not wearing the King’s uniform.  The records show that Thomas was no longer physically fit for war service and was surplus to military requirements (having suffered impairment since entry into the service).

Thomas continued to undergo medical examination after his discharge from the Army. He was examined on several occaisions when his wound was described as a “dumbbell shaped scar 3 ½  inch long over front of right shoulder. Scar is healed. Adherent to muscle. There is evidence of injury to head of humorous – loss of muscle tissue. Movement raising arm above head limited. Complains of weakness lifting anything above head.” He continued to complain of weakness and pain of the right arm, especially in bad weather.

Lodge Temperance registers show he resigned on November 15th 1920 as he was one of 24 from Lodge Temperance among the 26 founding members of Fortitude Lodge No 4017 consecrated on 13th January 1920 at the Masonic Hall, Edwin Street, Shields Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne. He took the chair of King Solomon in 1928.

The records indicate that Thomas married Elsie Narcissa Mary Worboy in Bodmin, Cornwall in 1926 and in 1927 had a son, Hugh D., born in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Thomas died in Plimstock, Devonshire on 13th March 1951 leaving £293 to his wife Elsie. Elsie died in June 1971.

Thomas’ father, Hugh Petrie,  was initiated into the Mysteries and Privileges of Ancient Freemasonry at the Lodge Temperance 2557 meeting on December 18th 1905, passed to the second or Fellowcraft Degree on January 15th 1906 and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on June 18th 1906.

Hugh’s death on October 9th 1916 is recorded in the Newcastle Journal of October 12th 1916:

“The Late Mr. Hugh Petrie – the funeral took place yesterday at St Andrew’s cemetery, Newcastle, of the late Mr. Hugh Petrie of Simonburn Avenue, Fenham, woollen merchant of this City. A large number of the deceased gentleman’s relatives and friends were present,  including members of the Westgate Baptist Brotherhood, of which he was president. Mr Petrie leaves a widow, two sons and a daughter to mourn his loss.”

The obituary goes on to list the principle mourners including Hugh’s two sons, Thomas William and Robert Petrie, representatives of Lodge Temperance (2557) of Freemasons and other Freemasons present.


Page updated 3 April 2015