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100th anniversary of Sandholes brothers killed by same shell during Great War

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

100th anniversary of Sandholes brothers killed by same shell during Great War thumbnailPrivates Joseph (left) and Thomas Wilson, who were killed in action in WWI by the same shell.

SATURDAY past marked the 100th anniversary of the passing of Sandholes brothers killed by the same shell during the First World War.

Privates Thomas Wilson (268276) and Joseph Wilson (268272) were aged just 24 and 21 when they were killed in action at Vimy Ridge, France on 1st April, 1917.

They lived with their parents in Scotland at Grey Street, Shettleston, Glasgow, but also had an address in the townland of Shivey, Sandholes, where they were born and maintained close family ties.

Joseph was the youngest in the family of eight and Thomas the third youngest; they had four brothers and two sisters.

Joseph was conscripted, though he could have returned to Shivey and avoided conscription but he wouldn't take that option, while Thomas insisted the youngest in the family wasn't going to war alone, so he joined as a volunteer.

They enlisted together in Scotland with the 1st / 6th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) on 21st May, 1915.

Their military photographs were taken separately but it was their mother who placed them together inside one frame.

When the brothers were home for a few days' leave, they wept together when they saw the picture for the first and what was to be the only time.

They were killed by the same shell on 1st April, 1917, at Vimy Ridge, France and are buried side by side in Mareouil British Military Cemetery, adjacent to where they died.

Thomas and Joseph Wilson were just two out of at least 200,000 men who lost their lives at Vimy Ridge, which was bombarded by an estimated six million tons of explosive tons over two and a half years.

Two of Tom and Joe's older brothers also served in The Great War. John (Jack), who was living in Powell River, British Columbia, enlisted with the Canadian army and Robert enlisted with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Both survived, though Jack was wounded by shrapnel and discharged.

They were the sons of William and Jane (nee Smith, from Drumearn, Cookstown).

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