Thomas   Humm DCM likeness

  cap badgeSergeant Thomas Humm DCM

2nd Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
Service No: 9260

Thomas   Humm DCM grave

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Personal details

Family Information

Son of David and Jane Ann Humm. Nephew of Mr and Mrs Samuel Lindsay of Groveside Cottage, Kipps, Coatbridge. Younger brother of Private David Humm of the Machine Gun Corps who died in bed of natural causes in Russia 01/02/1919. Thomas and his brother David lived with their cousin Private Samuel P Lindsay (36522) of the 16th (Service) Battalion Highland Light Infantry who was Killed in Action on the 28/11/1917. From 1891 Census - Address - Broompark Pl, Stonefield Road, Blantyre - David Humm aged 47, Jane Ann Humm aged 37, Jane S Humm aged 7, David G Humm aged 6, Thomas Humm aged 3, Robert Humm aged 1.

Born / Resided

Blantyre / Groveside Cottage, Kipps, Coatbridge.

Died

Killed in Action on the 21/01/1916 at the Attack on Hanna (part of the efforts to relieve Kut)

Enlisted

Dublin

Employed

Regular Soldier.

Age

28

Buried / Remembered

Basra Memorial (Panel 25 and 63), Iraq.

Cemetery / Memorial Information

The Basra Memorial commemorates more than 40,500 members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the operations in Mesopotamia from the Autumn of 1914 to the end of August 1921 and whose graves are not known.

Additional Information

In August 1914 Thomas and the 2nd Battalion were in Bareilly, India and were part of the Bareilly Brigade, Meerut Division. On the 21/09/1914 they moved to France, landing at Marseilles on the 12/10/1914. In December 1915 they moved to Mesopotamia, landing at Basra on the 31/12/1915. Formation was by now renamed 21st Brigade, 7th Indian Division. The Attack on Hanna, 21/01/1916 : By the 20th of January the 7th Division was beginning to resemble a shadow of the army formation that had set out just two weeks earlier. Heavy casualties, combined with sickness and the pace of the march, meant that many of its battalions were below half strength. The 2nd Battalion Black Watch seems to have suffered particularly badly, especially in numbers of wounded and killed, and could only muster some 250 effective soldiers for the battle to come. Having occupied a series of trenches in front of the Turkish lines on 19th January, the next day saw the attacking battalions, including the 2nd Black Watch, only some 200 yards from the Turkish trenches. Major Hamilton-Johnston (who two weeks before was a Captain, but owing to casualties amongst the officers of the 2nd Black Watch found himself not only an acting Major, but also commanding the battalion) wrote to the Brigade Commander stating that he was confident his men could take the first Turkish line, but due to the lack of men would need support to hold it. He therefore asked for the supporting battalions to be brought closer to the 2nd Black Watch; unfortunately this suggestion was not carried out. At seven minutes past eight on the morning of the 21st the 2nd Black Watch surged forward from their trenches towards the Turkish lines, just as the artillery barrage lifted. Thomas was 18 years with the 2nd Battalion, 10 of which was spent in India. With their usual mixture of bravery and stubbornness the 2nd Battalion did manage to take the Turkish trenches to their front, despite enduring a hail of bullets as they advanced. However the attacking troops to their right and left, the Dogras and the Buffs respectively, failed to achieve the same level of success and as a result The Black Watch found themselves isolated and exposed in their captured trench. The Turks, who had initially fled to their second line trenches in the face of The Black Watch assault, soon realised just how few troops were facing them and two counter attacks, one to the left and one to the right of the 2nd Black Watch, began to develop. These were kept at bay for a while by a small number of machine guns that had been captured from the enemy. However sheer weight of numbers soon began to tell, and gradually the defending soldiers of The Black Watch found themselves being squeezed tighter and tighter into a small part of the captured trench. It was at this point that Major Hamilton-Johnston was killed. In fact so many officers had fallen, wounded or killed, that command of the Battalion devolved down to Second Lieutenant Henderson, who had just three month’s service with the Battalion. For two hours the Battalion held out against almost overwhelming odds. By 10.15 am though the situation was desperate, almost surrounded and risking being destroyed, Henderson gave the command to withdraw, bringing with them one Turkish officer and around a dozen captured soldiers. The withdrawal was by no means easy and the remnants of the Battalion fought their way back to an advanced British trench some 50 yards in front of the British lines, which they then held until nightfall when they were relieved by soldiers from the 9th Brigade. 99 surviving men of The Black Watch were to rest. The next day, after the Battalion having been reinforced by the Battalion Headquarters officers and men, reported a strength of 5 officers, which included the Medical Officer and the Chaplain and 164 other ranks. This was out of a total strength of 29 officers and 900 men who had landed at Basra just three weeks before. Thomas received the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Medal of St George for bravery in the field. His Medal of St George 4th Class was granted by the Czar of Russia. He received his Distinguished Conduct Medal posthumously. His citation read - "For conspicuous gallantry in action. He was in charge of stretcher bearers and displayed an utter contempt for danger when attending the wounded, often under heavy fire" (see Citation photo London Gazette 14/11/1916). Thomas was also Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 19/10/1916). He was originally posted as missing and his death was not confirmed until December 1916. See Directory for Thomas' older brother David's page and his cousin Samuel P Lindsay's. Also see comments for this from Andy which is very much appreciated - "Thomas and his brother Robert were both Old Hibernians (Royal Hibernian Military School, Dublin). Sadly Thomas was missed from the RHMS war memorial in Phoenix Park, Dublin but I am hoping that we might get his name added to the Roll of Honour at the Duke of York's Royal Military School, Dover which merged with RHMS in 1924 and maintains a memorial to the fallen Old Hibernians." See photos for Thomas' Medal Index Card, his Newspaper clippings x 2, his name on the 1911 England Census (listed along with the 2nd Black Watch soldiers in India), his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his Citation for his DCM, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Basra Memorial Panel List, the Black Watch Cap Badge, the CWGC Basra Memorial Roll of Honour x 3 and Thomas' name in the CWGC Basra Memorial Roll of Honour.

Photos
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Comments
Thank you Andy. Yes I've just noticed Thomas' Medal Index Card and you're right its definitely his brother David's number regarding MGC. I'm currently updating each mans page and I'm on surname H at the minute. I'll update Thomas' page tomorrow and good luck in getting his name on the Roll of Honour. Thanks again.
John McCann, Belfast, 08/10/2020 3:44PM
You should be congratulated on a really good website and it was invaluable into my research. Please see below some additional information on Thomas Humm: He was also Mentioned in Despatches (LG 19 October 1916). The reference in his Medal Index Card to Pte 18530 MGC relates to his brother David - no idea why this has been added, unless it is to do with the uncle claiming their medals, but Thomas started the war as a L/Cpl in the Black Watch and there is no record of him joining the MGC as a Pte and then re-joining the Black Watch; the MGC were not formed until October 1915 also, so he would not have had time to join the MGC and then re-join the Black Watch in time to go to Mesopotamia. Thomas and his brother Robert were both Old Hibernians (Royal Hibernian Military School, Dublin). Sadly Thomas was missed from the RHMS war memorial in Phoenix Park, Dublin but I am hoping that we might get his name added to the Roll of Honour at the Duke of York's Royal Military School, Dover which merged with RHMS in 1924 and maintains a memorial to the fallen Old Hibernians.
Andy, UK, 08/10/2020 2:50PM

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