Roll of Honour

Private Thomas Henry Ayris

Linked to: Bicester
Also linked to: Stratton Audley

Service Number: 288883

Regiment: Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars

Conflict: World War One

Date of Death: 21st June 1917

Age at Death: 19

Burial/Memorial Location: Templeux-le-Guerard British Cemetery, Somme, France

Address: Woodfield

"News, unofficial, though undoubtedly true, has been received of the death of Private Tom Ayris, of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, only child of Mr and Mrs Bryant, of Woodfield (late of Stratton Audley). He was 19 years of age, and joined the army when he was 16. He had only been in France six months, and a letter, written to his mother on the day he was killed, says he was as happy as a sand-boy, and all he wanted was a pipe and some tobacco, which he requested should be sent to him. A letter of sympathy has been received by Mrs Bryant from the Hon. Arthur Villiers, who is in command of the late soldier’s squadron." Bicester Advertiser 29/06/1917

"The parents of Thomas Henry Ayris have received official information from the Hussars Record Office, York, notifying them of his death in action on the 21st ulto. A letter has also been received from an officer in the late soldier’s squadron sympathising with the parents, and testifying as to his popularity. The letter is appended:
"I am more than sorry to have to tell you that your son, Tom Ayris was killed early on Friday morning during a heavy bombardment of the trenches which preceded a German raid. A shell pitched in the trench and killed him instantaneously, together with another man in the same troop who was with him, H. Castle, of Brize Norton. Will you allow me to offer you my very deepest sympathy. Your son had not been with us very long, but during that time he made himself wonderfully popular, and he will be the greatest loss to me as well as to the men. He was a good soldier and a brave man, and I cannot speak too highly of his work. Just before he was killed he had been out with a party of 35 men under an officer and a sergeant, putting up wire in front of the trench. The officer and more than half the party were killed or missing. Your son was buried today in a little cemetery behind the lines, looking out over a pretty valley of grass and woods. I think you would like the place if you could see it. The men have picked a lot of flowers which we have placed on his grave. We put up a cross to him and to another man of the squadron who was buried beside him, inscribed:
In memory of
Pte. T. Ayris,
Killed in Action
June 21st, 1917
I enclose a French note which I found in his pay book. I am sending you under separate cover his note book which is all that I found on him. If there is anything at all that you wish to know please write and ask me. I can only add my deepest sympathy with you in your terrible sorrow. Yours very truly, Gerald Wellesley, Oxfordshire Yeomanry."" Bicester Advertiser 13/07/1917