THOMAS EDWARD LITTLEFIELD
Private 402781
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles (Central Ontario Regt.)
who died on Friday, 2nd June 1916

 
 
Commonwealth
War Graves
Commission
 
 
            Casualty_Details :       1593871
 
    
 
 
Personal Information
Date of birth 7th August 1896, in London. Son of Thomas and Jane Littlefield.
 
At the time of the 1901 census, Thomas and Jane lived in Hampstead with Thomas jnr. By 1911, the head of the house was shown as Jane Littlefield with three children, Dorothy, Herbert and Frederick but no mention of Thomas Edward senior or junior.
 
There were two boarders at the residence – Leonard Lynch and Ernest Cole.
 
In 1919, Jane Littlefield married Mr Cole and they had a son, Leslie, who later married Mary Jarvis. Leslie and Mary lived in Shalford Road.
 
Thomas enlisted in Canada on 16th January 1915
 
Memorial: Grave
 
Reference/Panel Number:

Location:
YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, leper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium Panel 30 and 32 Ypres (now leper) is a town in the Province of West Flanders.
 
The Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to Menin and Courtrai, and bears the names of men who were lost without trace during the defence of the Ypres Salient in the First World War.
 
Theatre of War

Trooper Littlefield died in June 1916 in the Ypres sector, it was a relatively quiet sector at this time, but casualties were still suffered each day.

 
Address given at
Remembrance Sunday
at All Saints, Rayne 2004
At first, it was hard to find the connection between Thomas Littlefield and Rayne.
 
The only Littlefield with T as the Christian name listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was in the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, and on the face of it, could not be the Thomas Littlefield on our memorial. However, Beryl found out that someone was interested in finding out about anyone with the Littlefield surname, and so made contact. What we discovered very quickly was that the T E Littlefield listed by the CWGC was the Thomas Littlefield named on our memorial.
 
Thomas Littlefield was born on 7th August 1896, and lived in the St Pancras district of London. His father – also Thomas Edward – was a laboratory attendant, a job which was not at all common in the late 19th century. His mother was Jane Littlefield, who was 24 when Thomas was born. With mobility nothing like as easy as today, the Littlefield family did not stay in one place for long, for by the turn of the century, when Thomas was about five, they had moved to Suffolk. Within a few years, another move had taken place, and by the time Thomas enlisted, his mother was living in Rayne.
 
The circumstances under which Thomas went to Canada are not known, but on 16 January 1915, at the age of 18, he joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He gave his occupation as Apprentice Mechanic. It is believed that he went to Canada on the SS Tunisian out of Liverpool on 14th June 1912. His Regiment were initially sent to Salisbury Plain, where they underwent training before embarking for Flanders in February 1915 and were located close to Ypres.
 
The Regiment took part in some very fierce fighting during the summer of 1915, and from September that year were involved in patrolling and raiding – including a 13 day engagement in April 1916 when 1,373 men were killed. The Division then moved to the front line to occupy a hill in the Ypres salient, known as Mount Sorrel, almost the only high ground retained by the Allies in this area.
 
On the morning of 2 June 1916 the Germans launched a furious bombardment and four huge mines exploded under Mount Sorrel. Trenches and their defenders vanished. Of the 702 men in the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, only 76 survived uninjured. During this attack, Thomas was fatally wounded, and died, at the age of 19. Thomas is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres, along with over 55,000 others who have no known grave.
 
Thomas Edward Littlefield. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember him.