Thomas Bernard Loader was born in 1887 in the Winchester registration district.
His parents, Edward Loader and Emily (nee Roberts), had married in Shoreditch at the end of 1873 when Emily was only 21. In the 1881 census they can be found at 9, Clement Street. Edward is aged 33, a grocer’s porter, born in Colden Common; Emily is 29. They have 4 children: Kate (9), Edward (6), Mary (3), and Teresa (1). Emily and her children were all born in Winchester.
In the 1891 census, the family is living at 17, Hyde Close. Edward, 44, is a porter. There are now four more children: Albert (8), James (7), Thomas (4) and Margaret (2).
In the 1901 census, the family is living at 16, Hyde Close (is the address of 17, Hyde Close in 1891 a mistake? Or did they move next door?). Edward is still a grocer’s porter and two of his sons have followed him in the trade: James, 16, is a draper’s porter, and Thomas, 14, a grocer’s porter. The older five siblings have left home (Albert had enlisted in the Royal Navy on his 18th birthday). Since the last census, two more daughters have been born: Emily (8), and Florence (6).
In the 1911 census, Edward, 63, is now a porter for a wine and spirit merchant. Emily states that she has been married for 39 years and has had 11 children, two of which have died. Only Florence, aged 16, is now living with them at 16, Hyde Close.
Where was Thomas? He was by then aged 23 and working as a stable lad for racing horses in Chilcomb (just outside Winchester).
Thomas’ father Edward died in 1914, aged 69.
Thomas’ brother Albert was lost at sea when his ship Alcantara sank in February 1916. The following month Thomas enlisted in the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment and was given the regimental number 22302, but later attached to the 14th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment in the Machine Gun Corps. The Winchester War Register states that he was wounded three times: in August 1916, and in July and December 1917 in Flanders. He did not recover from his wounds and died on 2nd February 1918, aged 31, almost exactly two years after his brother Albert was lost at sea.
Thomas is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium. During the First World War, the village of Lijssenthoek (20 miles south-west of Dunkirk) was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations. The cemetery contains 9,901 First World War Commonwealth burials.
Albert’s widowed mother Emily died in the September quarter of 1918 aged 66, only months after Thomas’ death.
It is not known if Edward and James, brothers of Thomas and Albert, served in WW1.