Born: 21st April 1878, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk.

Died: 13th May 1901; age: 23; Died of Enteric Fever at Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa.

ENTERIC FEVER   Enteric Fever (eneterica serotype bacteria) was a rampant bacterial infection during the South Africa Boer War – 1899 – 1902.

This systemic disease, now known as Typhoid Fever, from the bacterium Salmonella typhi, is characterised by fever and abdominal pain. The disease is spread via the lymphatic system and can affect other parts of the body, or even the whole body. The symptoms usually develop a week or two after a person has become infected bringing on a high temperature, headaches, coughs, lethargy, aches and pains, loss of appetite, sickness and diarrhoea. After 2 – 3 weeks intestinal bleeding.

Enteric Fever was originally thought to be spread via dust storms and flies.

Human carriers with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through their faeces, which contain a high concentration of the bacteria. The polluted water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. Enteric (Typhoid) Fever is then contracted by drinking or eating contaminated food or water. This bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.

In 1897, an effective vaccine was developed by Almroth Wright and William Leisman, at the Army Medical School, Netley. At the time of the Boer War, the new inoculation had many side effects, and soldiers refused voluntary immunisation. The inoculation was still voluntary in August 1914, when Great Britain entered the First World War. 

Residence: Cranmer Green, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk.

Occupation: a Labourer.

Enlistment Date: 28th December 1894.


Rank: Lance Corporal; Service Number: 4122.

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion, South Africa Field Force.


Clasps Awarded: Cape Colony, Orange Free State & Transvaal + South Africa 1901 medal.




1881   Four Ashes, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk.


Thomas was 3 years old and living with his parents and siblings.

Emerson Read, 45, an Agricultural Labourer, born Walsham le Willows.

Lucy Read (nee Kerridge), 41, born Walsham le Willows.

James Read, 14, a Stable Boy, born Walsham le Willows.

Lucy Ellen Read, 12, born Walsham le Willows – died 1886, Walsham le Willows.

Charles Thomas Read, 10, a Farm Servant, born Walsham le Willows.

Elizabeth Read, 6, born Walsham le Willows.

Clara Read, 5, born Walsham le Willows.

Alice Mary Read, 1 month, born Walsham le Willows.


1891   Cranmer Green, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk.

Thomas was 13 years old, a Groom and a Stable Boy. He was living with his father and stepmother and step-siblings.

Emerson, 54, an Agricultural Labourer.

Jane Read (nee Woods (1st marriage Bird)), 44, born Walsham le Willows.

Henry Bird, 15, an Agricultural Labourer, born Walsham le Willows.

Herbert Bird, 13, an Agricultural Labourer, born Walsham le Willows.

George Bird, 11, born Walsham le Willows.

Jane Bird, 4, born Walsham le Willows.


Thomas’s mother, Lucy Read died 1884, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk.


Soldiers’ Effects to Emerson Read – father.


Thomas’s stepbrother, Herbert Bird lost his life in the First World War when he was KiA on the 3rd July 1916, aged 38. Herbert was ranked a Private, service number 20425 for the Suffolk Regiment, 7th Battalion. He was buried at the village of Ovillers-la-Boisselle, then later laid to rest at Ovillers Military Cemetery, Somme, France.


3rd April 1920 – Bury Free Press – A HERO’S GRAVEMrs. Jane Read, of Four Ashes, has received intimation that it has been found necessary to exhume the body of her son No. 20425 Pte. Herbert Bird, 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, and to re-inter it in Ovillers British Cemetery, 2 1/4 miles N.E. of Albert.


One of the notable Battles with a large loss of Suffolk life was the “Battle of Suffolk Hill” at Colesberg, Northern Cape 5th- 6th January 1900. The hill was originally called Red or Grassy Hill. The Suffolk Regiment was ordered to make a night attack on a Boer position on the heights, four companies, 354 of all ranks, set out at midnight under the command of Col. Watson. The Suffolks were met by a storm of bullets. The Colonel was amongst the first to fall, and the party later retired with 11 officers and 150+ men killed, wounded or captured.


The Boer War.

Suffolk Regiment 

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