The People Behind the Names Private Randall 1879-1916

Thomas Randal was born on the 5th February 1879 to Richard and Jane Randall (nee Rose). Thomas was one of seven children, when he was born the family were living at Lily Cottages which can be found opposite the Chichester Arms, in Mortehoe. The family later moved to Sunnycliffe which they ran as a boarding house. 

Thomas’s father, Richard Randall was born at Chickerell, near Weymouth in 1839 and joined the Royal Navy from the merchant service in January 1860. He saw service on many of the old ships of war, notably the ‘Colossus’ St. George and Trafalgar. He was then transferred to the coastguard service, and was stationed at Westward Ho for eight and a half years before moving to Mortehoe for nine years, Thomas was awarded the good conduct medal in 1875, retiring in 1887. For many years he was the caretaker of the lifeboat at Woolacombe

Richard, died in 1908, following a long illness, he had been well known and was highly respected in the area and the North Devon Journal described him as ‘being a typical Old Salt,  he was a great favourite of the juvenile portion of the large number of visitors who, year by year, come here for relaxation or in search of health.

Married to Laura, Thomas was working a as cook. He moved to Canada when war broke, and he enlisted with the Canadian over-seas expeditionary force in May 1915.  His papers at the time of his enlistment show him as being 5ft, 6 inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair. He was 36 years old when he enlisted, along with his brother. 

Private Thomas Randall (433207) had been stationed in France for some months, he saw a great deal of fighting with his Battalion, before he was killed in action on the 29th May 1916. His death was recorded in the local press, describing Thomas as a hero, an amiable disposition and much liked by his friends and comrades, worthy son of worthy Parents. His death is much regretted. 

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