Thomas Wilding was the only son of Thomas and Betsey Wilding. He was born in Cotebrook in the autumn of 1888 and was baptised in Tarporley Parish Church on 25 November 1888. By the date of the 1911 Census, Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth Jane Wilding, were recorded as living in Tattenhall, his occupation being listed as ‘saddler and harness maker’. It is likely that they were living in ‘Rosemary Row’. He and Elizabeth were parents to three children.
Sapper Thomas Wilding is buried in Bralo village which shelters under Mount Parnassus near Delphi in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece. ‘Sappers’ were a Corps of the Royal Engineers that provided military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.
The cemetery in Bralo village was begun in October 1917. A large proportion of the burials at this Military Cemetery are due to the influenza epidemic which appeared suddenly in Greece during the spring of 1918, followed by a second wave in the autumn months. Sapper Thomas Wilding is recorded as having ‘died of sickness’. There are less than 100 Commonwealth burials in this location.
Sapper Thomas Wilding’s grandson (Rob Wilding), confirms that Sapper Thomas Wilding was, in the first instance, posted to France on the Western Front in the summer of 1915. He was, therefore, one of Kitchener’s volunteer army, conscription not being introduced until 1916. His subsequent posting to Salonika (about a day’s travel over the mountains from Bralo) was often regarded to be a suitable posting for soldiers who were returning to active service after convalescence. Whether this was the case with Sapper Thomas Wilding remains unclear.
Towards the end of 1917 and because of German submarine activity in the Mediterranean, the Salonika lines of communication were diverted through the village of Bralo. Diaries of other survivors, confirm that there was a ‘Telegraph Office’ just 3 miles from Bralo village. The 49th Stationary Hospital was gradually transferred to Bralo and rest camps were also established at this location.
The widow of Sapper Thomas Wilding (Elizabeth Jane Wilding) continued to live in Rosemary Row (formerly ‘School Terrace’) until her death in the spring of 1955. She is buried in St Alban’s Churchyard, Tattenhall.
Sapper THOMAS WILDING
86764, 137th Army Troops Company, Royal Engineers
Died 16 April 1918
Husband of Elizabeth J. Wilding of School Terrace*, Tattenhall, Cheshire
Remembered with honour
BRALO BRITISH CEMETERY, GREECE
* it is likely that Rosemary Row and School Terrace are one and the same location, the ‘British School’ having been located at the end of the terrace