History of First World War hero from South Shields traced in family search

The great-nephew of a South Shields-born First World War hero will - for the first time - be able to picture his face as he pays tribute to him and the others who lost their lives this weekend.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 10 November, 2018, 08:00
Thomas Barlow with his great uncle Thomas Bolton Foster Prime WW1 photograph

Thomas Barlow has spent years tracing the ancestor - Thomas Bolton Foster Prime - who was killed in France in 1916.

He was buried in Adnac Military Cemetery six miles NE of Albert, France.

Private Thomas Bolton Foster Prime.

Mr Barlow began his search after his father, Thomas Prime-Barlow, died in 2004.

His search took him across the Atlantic - where Private Prime had emigrated before the 1914-18 conflict.

Private, had moved to Canada then America but was sent back to Britain after signing up with the Canadian Expeditionary Force to help with the war effort.

He was one of a number of men who were sent to serve in the 47th Battalion.

A decorated bullet - one memento of Private Thomas Bolton Foster Prime

The battalion disembarked in France in August 1916 and had their first taste of trench warfare two weeks later.

He was killed in action while on duty as a lookout in the front line after an enemy shell exploded.

It was after finding where he was buried that he got into contact with relatives in America - and he finally got to see a pictutre of him.

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Thomas Barlow with his great uncle Thomas Bolton Foster Prime's WW1 swagger stick and bullet

He was sent an image of the soldier soon after he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Mr Barlow, from Low Fell, Gateshead, Said: “For the first time, I’ll know what my greatuncle looks like on Remembrance Sunday.

Mr Barlow was also gifted his great-uncle’s staff.

He said: “When my father died, I said I wanted to find out more about my great-uncle who my father had always looked up to.

The WW1 swagger stick

“I managed to trace him in the parish records and found he was baptised at St Michael’s Church in Westoe, South Shields.

“It has taken years to find out where he was killed, where he was buried and about his life.”

He added: “I have always had a fascination about our family tree.

“When I was sent photographs of him, it was very emotional.

“It means I now have a face to picture at remembrance and to be able to know what he looked like for the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, makes it even more special and emotional.”