Private G/7366, 9th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment
Died of Wounds on Saturday 6th April 1918
Buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, Grave III.D.30
Tom Trevett was baptised on the 3rd May 1896 at St. James the Less, North Lancing, the son of Harvey Henry and Louisa Trevett - Harvey Trevett's occupation was given in the parish register as 'Licensed Victualler', although a carpenter by trade, between 1893 and 1899 he was the landlord of the original Farmer's Hotel in Lancing. Harvey was married twice; his first wife Mercy died in 1885 at the age of twenty-three, but the couple had at least two children. His second marriage to Louisa had its difficulties with the death of their first two chidren before Tom's birth in 1896.
Tom Trevett enlisted in Worthing on the 28th June 1915, joining the 9th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. He was twenty years old, 5ft 11 ins. tall and his occupation was given as grocer's assistant. He gave his next of kin as his mother as although his father was still alive, he was very ill with pulmonary tuberculosis and died at home just five weeks later.
The 9th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment were serving on the Western Front for a large part of the war, and Tom Trevett's death came shortly after the start of the German Spring Offensive of March 1918. The battalion had suffered many casualties, mainly between the 21st and 25th of March, but on the 4th April the battalion war diary shows no significant action, and a casualty list shows Tom Trevett named as the only man wounded that day:
4th April - Battalion less 'B' Company marched off to BOIS de GENTILLES at 5 a.m. where it bivouacked until 2 p.m. [Tom was part of 'D' Company]. 'B' Coy. rejoined at 1.30 p.m. At 2 p.m. Battalion went forward and took up support positions in depth to 24th Divisional Depot Battalion in front of BOIS de GENTILLES on SW side of AMIENS-ROYE Road.
On the 8th April Louisa Trevett received the telegram that she must have dreaded:
Regret to inform you No. G/7366 Private T. Trevett 9th Royal Sussex dangerously ill at No.3 Australian General Hospital Abbeville France. Regret permission to visit cannot be granted.
And the following day:
Regret to inform you No. G/7366 Private T. Trevett 9th Royal Sussex died gunshot wound head April 6th at 3 Australian General Hospital Abbeville France.
Although much information can be found in newspapers which would otherwise be lost, the following two extracts show how much care needs to be taken with interpreting the facts. The first appeared in the Sussex Daily News on April 17th, 1918:
LANCING CASUALTIES - Private T. Trevett, Royal Sussex Regiment, son of Mrs. Harvey Trevett, a widow, living at Rose Cottage, Penhill Road, Lancing, has died from wounds received on the Western Front. He was 22 years of age and single and at one time worked at the London Stores, New Road, Shoreham. He had been in the Army three years, and fell during the German attack at the Western Front, the fatal injury being a gunshot wound in the head. He was acting as dispatch runner.
And the second, again from the Sussex Daily News, this time dated 8th May, 1918:
LANCING MAN'S DISTINCTION - In connection with the death of Private T. Trevett, son of Mrs. Harvey Trevett of Rose Cottage, Penhill Road, Lancing, recently reported, a letter has been received by his mother from an officer of his Brigade, from which it transpires that the Brigadier has recommended him for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. At the time of his death the house where the Headquarters of the Brigade were situated was being shelled. Private Trevett was inside at the time, when a shell exploded in the garden and he was struck by a large fragment, passing away in a short time without recovering consciousness. 'The memory of your son's splendid character still lives' the writer stated.
Two rather different slants on what happened at the time, and Tom certainly lived another two days, during which time he was transferred back to a hospital in Abbeville, probably having been treated initially at a casualty clearing station. But hopefully the letter was of some comfort to Louisa Trevett, who had lost both her husband and her eldest son during the course of the war.