Sunday, 7 February 2016

First Sunderland Man Killed in WW I

An oak-leaf emblem was sanctioned for those who were mentioned in despatches and was included on the medal ribbon of the Victory Medal, 1914-19.

What the leaf on the above medal card represents I am unaware.

Thomas Wilken Cairns

Birth Place:

Death Date:
23 Aug 1914

Death Location:
France & Flanders

Enlistment Location:


Northumberland Fusiliers

1st Battalion


Type of Casualty:
Killed in action

On the opening day of the Battle of Mons, 23rd August 1914, 9309 Private Thomas Wilken Cairns of the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers was killed in action. He was one of 277 officers and men of the British Army to die on this day.

Thomas was born in Sunderland and was living there when he enlisted with the regiment in 1903. He was probably on the Reserve when Britain went to war in August 1914 but his medal index card reveals that he arrived overseas on the 13th August. Ten days later he was dead. Thomas has no known grave and is commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial.

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