1st Battalion Leinster Regiment,
Killed in Action 12th May 1915,
Thomas enlisted at Mosney Camp near Drogheda, Co. Louth, September/October 1914. Following his period of training, Thomas was posted to the 1st Battalion of the Leinsters, departing for France in March 1915, as part of the 82nd brigade 27th Division. Early April found the battalion near Ypres, carrying out tours of trenches south-east of Hooge. By the end of the month the battalion were consolidating Hill 60, which was now occupied after it had been blown up by a huge mine. Taking up further positions in Sanctuary Wood on the 6th May, the Leinsters held the line there under constant attack.
May 8th saw the beginning of the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge. On the 10th the whole battalion stood to and went to the close support of the 81st Brigade for the whole of the afternoon and evening.
About 9am on the 11th a heavy bombardment was opened by the Germans and an attack was launched by them against Hill 55 north east of Sanctuary wood. Here a Highland battalion was driven back and “B” Company was sent up in support driving the enemy back. The Germans, however did not cease from their efforts and another trench fell into their hands.
The 1st Leinster Regiment was ordered to counter attack and “A” and “C” companies started a 11pm. Owing to the wooded nature of the terrain and that artillery ammunition was not sufficient for a preliminary bombardment, it was decided to recapture the trenches by surprise and at the point of the bayonet. This effort was completely successful, the Germans were completely surprised and most of the the trench was recaptured.
However with a furious enfilade fire and an accurate artillery bombardment, the position couldn’t be held and by daylight the Leinsters were forced to retire.
This action of the early morning of Wednesday 12th May was a costly episode for the 1st battalion. With 2 Officers killed and 4 wounded, 56 OR killed and up to a 100 wounded. Many of those men killed were never found, among them being Thomas McEvoy. Of the missing the battalion history states that ‘these were undoubtedly lying dead on the ground which had been so strenuously contested’.
Thomas is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial his body never being found.
“He volunteered, he thought it was his duty, he died that we might live”