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Nostalgia: The Thomas Salter story
EVERY week the BFP's volunteer historian Mike Dewey takes readers of the print edition on a journey into the past. Due to popular demand, we launch his nostalgia section online.
We consider one of the most significant people in the story of the history and eventual demise of Hull, Loosley & Pearce, Thomas Salter.
Tom joined the firm in December 1912 and served it for nearly 60 years, apart from his service in the Great War.
Thomas Salter was born on December 25th 1890 at 6 Rotherstone, Devizes,in Wiltshire, the 9th child (out of 11) of John and Mary Ann Salter née Day.
His father was variously a dairyman, brewer's traveller and general labourer and died in the Wiltshire County Asylum in 1898, aged 44, leaving the family to be supported by his eldest sons.
After leaving school Tom undertook a 3 year apprenticeship between 1905 and 1908 with the Devizes Co-Operative Society. At the time of the 1911Census he was working as a grocery assistant in Uxbridge and he also worked in Malvern.
He was then recommended for a job at High Wycombe Co-Op, where he started in December 1912, lodging at 33 Priory Avenue.
He began to attend Union Baptist Church in Easton Street, where he joined the choir and made the acquaintance of Edith Mary Loosley, the eldest daughter of William Cox Loosley of the firm Hull, Loosley & Pearce (H,L&P).
A difference in social background initially made their friendship awkward, but gradually they became fond of each other.
Following the start of the Great War Tom enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corp in January 1915, training in Britain until December 1916. As with most British servicemen Tom did not talk about his experiences in WWI but thanks to the frequent post-cards he sent home to Edith Loosley during his military service, the family have been able to follow his movements.
He did a month's nursing instruction course in Oxford and another month in Cambridge, followed by experience at King's Lynn, Aldershot, Billericay and The Lee.
In February 1917 he was posted to Mesopotamia, travelling there via South Africa and India. In Mesopotamia, which is present-day Iraq, but was then part of the Turkish Ottoman empire, he served in the 3rd British General Hospital.
We will continue our look at Tom’s life next week.
I am grateful to Thomas Salter’s eldest daughter Mrs Nancy Grace and to his grand-daughter Mrs Hazel Langford for sharing their memories, and allowing me to use their research in the preparation of this article.
Appeal for Information
In conjunction with Dave Finch, co-author of the book detailing the history of Wycombe Wanderers, we are planning to research the stories of the Wanderers players who participated in the Great War.
A memorial plaque listing the names of those who died was unveiled at Loakes Park in April 1920. The names were: C.Buchanan, G.Buchanan, H.Stallwood, F.Langley, E.Reynolds, J.Love, G.Fowler, J.McDermott, A.Saunders, and E. Carter.
We would love to hear from any reader who is descended from, or has knowledge of, these players.
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