World War 1

Search the known records to date of those lost from the wider Alnwick area in World War 1

Generally showing where they are commemorated, when they died and some basic facts about each person. There are gaps, however, so if you can fill in any missing details do please contact us.

Thomas Straffen




Service Number:


East Yorkshire Regiment, 3rd (Reserve) Battalion



Alnwick Cemetery, Northumberland

Service History:
Straffen's service records are available via although they're difficult to read, in places, & a degree of supposition must be applied!

He enlisted on 15 September 1914 & joined up at Scarborough, on 29 September, seemingly serving with the Northumberland Hussars.

Transferred to the East Yorkshire Regiment on 2 June 1915 with which regiment Straffen served with its 1st & 3rd (Reserve) Battalions, as well as at the Depot.

Straffen served in France from 16 July 1915 to 27 September 1916 when he received a gun-shot wound to his right arm. The records aren't entirely clear, but it might be reasonable to assume he returned to service there before receiving a gun-shot wound to his left arm, in October 1917. Thereafter, all service was in the UK.

While serving with the 1st Battalion, Straffen was promoted to Acting Corporal, on 12 May 1917, then Acting Sergeant, on 31 July 1917 however it appears he may have asked to be returned to the ranks. Certainly, after he was wounded a second time he was posted to the Depot as a Private, on 24 October 1917. There, he was again promoted, to Acting Lance-Corporal, before his death is recorded, in February 1919.

On 3 February 1919, Straffen was admitted to Alnwick Military Hospital suffering from UHD (Usual Ductal Hyperplasia) which led to heart failure. A secondary cause of death was Oedema of the Lungs (excessive fluid in the lungs).

Straffen is not on the Alnwick War Memorial but is commemorated in St. Bartholomew's Church, Whittingham, Northumberland.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War 1914-18, & Allied Victory medals (a.k.a. 'Pip, Squeak & Wilfred').

Born in July 1896, at Brunton, near Embleton, Northumberland, the son of John Straffen (b. Kirkharle, near Morpeth, Northumberland; a Domestic Coachman), by his wife, Isabella Straffen (née Wales; b. at Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland), who lived at Breamish House, Powburn, Northumberland at the time of their son's death.

Educated at Embleton School, probably until about 1910.

The 1911 Census records Straffen's occupation as an Apprentice Butcher. The family lived at High Brunton, Christon Bank. Thomas had a younger sister, Edna (12).

After 2½ years apprenticeship as a Butcher, Straffen became a Groom, which was his occupation at the time of his enlistment.
(Source: 'The Fallen of Embleton 1914-1919'; Written & researched by Terry Howells, Mary Kibble, & Monica Cornall; 2014; pp. 67-69)

Local Memorial:
Alnwick Cemetery Embleton, Memorial Obelisk in Spitalford Cemetery Embleton, Church of England School 1914-1918 Memorial Plaque Whittingham, Roll of Honour in St. Bartholomew's Church