2nd Lieutenant Thomas Bryson Waddell

Biography of 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Bryson Waddell

Thomas Bryson Waddell was born on the 20th September 1889 in Kilwinning, Ayrshire. He was the youngest son of John Waddell, a Joiner, and Marion Waddell (nee Bryson). Educated at the Higher Grade School and Irvine Academy, Thomas came to the University of Glasgow in 1907 at the age of 18. His matriculation slip for his first year reveals that he took classes in Latin and Greek and lodged at 26 Bridgend. Thomas showed a clear aptitude for academia and won several prizes throughout his time at the University, including prizes in Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Mathematics and Astronomy. By the time he graduated MA and BSc on the 16th November 1912, his father had died.

After completing his University studies, Thomas enrolled for a one-year teacher training course at the Glasgow Provincial Training College, forerunner of Jordanhill College of Education, now the University of Strathclyde. On the 1st August 1913, he qualified for the Teacher’s General Certificate, which permitted him to teach in primary schools. He then completed a further six weeks of training to qualify as a teacher of higher, or secondary school subjects, specialising in Mathematics and Science. Thomas taught both subjects at Dornoch Academy in Sutherland from the 9th January 1914 until his enlistment at Glasgow in 1915.

Thomas initially served as a Private with the 14th Bn. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. In December 1916, he received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant with the Seaforth Highlanders. 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Bryson Waddell was killed in action on the 8th April 1917 during preparations for the Battle of Arras in the Northern region of France. This battle is remembered as one of the principal offensives undertaken by the British Army on the Western Front, which saw them make significant advances and gain ground against the German troops that had been encamped there.

Following Thomas’s death, Lieutenant Colonel Unthank wrote to Thomas’s widowed mother, observing that her son:
"had a clean mind, a pure unsullied nature, an imperturbable disposition that never appeared to be touched by any mental disturbance, [and] a bright and winning smile that radiated sunshine everywhere… If he indulged any feeling of pride whatsoever in the distinction he had received (at school or university), it was because of the joy it brought to a mother's heart."

2nd Lieutenant Thomas Bryson Waddell is buried at the Roclincourt Military Cemetery (plot II.A.27) in Northern France near the city of Arras where the battle unfolded. He is one of thirty-eight Seaforth Highlanders buried there, all killed in the run-up to, and the first two days of the battle. He is remembered on the Roll of Honour of the Glasgow Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers, and on the Glasgow Provincial Training College War Memorial in the David Stow Building, Jordanhill.


2nd Lieutenant Thomas Bryson Waddell
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Regiment: 5th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders
Degree: MA BSc
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 8 April 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/1253
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/3/1253


University of Glasgow Faculty, General Council and Registry records.

Quote: Ross and Cromarty Heritage.

Burial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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