© Helvellyn Consulting 2018
Driver Thomas Hadwin
2nd. Reserve. Motor Transport Coy,
Royal Army Service Corps
Born 13 August 1907, Patterdale, Westmorland
Died 23 April 1941, Nafplio, Greece (Age 33)
Son of Stephen Slinger and Betsy Ann (nee Routledge) Hadwin, Wordsworth Cottage Patterdale
Wife of Margaret (nee Tomlinson Cheeseman) and Father of Roger (born July 1938)
Thomas Hadwin was born at Wordsworth Cottage, Patterdale, on the 13th August 1907 and was baptised at St Patrick's Church on the 29th September later that year. Thomas was the third son of Stephen Slinger Hadwin and his wife Betsy Ann (nee Routledge).
An excellent biography has been written by his son, Roger Hadwin, who wrote the following for the Matterdale Historical Society a few years ago:-
After leaving school he assisted his father with his carriers business between Patterdale and Penrith. Presumably he was taught to drive during this period because later in his teens, I understand that he joined the local and well respected building firm of Arthur Pattinson as a driver of their Model T Ford. In the late 1920's or early 1930's he became employed by John Dickinson of Rooking Ghyll, Patterdale, a Director of Harland and Wolf Ltd the well known shipbuilders of Belfast, as a chauffeur/handyman and this work took him all over the country driving the Dickinsons both on business and pleasure journeys.
By this time he had met Margaret Tomlinson Cheeseman of New Hutton, Kendal; a pupil teacher at Patterdale School who was teaching the infants. After courting for some 4 or 5 years they were subsequently married at St Stephen's Church, New Hutton on the 28th April 1934 and lived in a (tied) cottage adjacent to the Dickinson's. On the 24th July 1938 a son, Roger was born.
According to my father's close friend, Walter Dry, one day during September (presumably 1939) my father arrived in his boss's car and announced that he was going to volunteer and would he go with him. His thoughts were that if they volunteered, they would get the best jobs. They immediately drove to Ambleside to the Border Regiment's local HQ. They were unable to help and it was suggested that they travelled to Windermere. Here they encountered the same indifferent attitude and it was suggested that they went to Kendal. Here it was suggested that they went to Lancaster where they were sure they would be attended to. This was too far and they returned home disillusioned as much because the car had not had it's headlights modified allowing only a narrow strip of light.
My father, not being in a reserved occupation, was finally called up on the 12th September 1940 into the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver and was posted to 'A' Company 8th Training Battalion on the 21st September. He was temporarily posted to 'D' Company on the 9th October 1940 before going back to the 8th Training Battalion on the 6th November 1940. On the 11th December he was posted to the 2nd Reserve Motor Transport Company for overseas service and subsequently disembarking in Egypt on the 5th March 1941.
I am in possession of a (censored) letter to his close friends, Elsie and Walter Dry of Glenridding dated 6th February 1941 and obviously written at sea, in which he says, 'you will have done a lot of wondering where I am since I left Bradford' (I presume that he was in Bradford whilst training).
The first notification my mother received that my father was missing was dated the 30th July 1941 from the RASC Records office in Hastings in which it states 'T/220461 -
I am also in possession of letters to my mother between 1941 and 1944, from various organisations obviously in response to my mother's desperate pleas for information, culminating with a letter from The War Office dated 5th December 1944 in which she receives the first official confirmation that 'it is with deep regret that the military authorities overseas have now reported that your husband's grave has been found in Greece and that it is consequently being recorded that Driver Hadwin was killed in action between the 23rd and 25th April 1941'.
I believe that he was first interred at Nafplio on the Peloponnese near to where he was killed when the enemy pushed down through Greece resulting in the allied forces evacuating to Crete following the capitulation of the Greek Army on 21st April 1941. Later my father's remains were re-
Mother and I attended the dedication and unveiling ceremony on the 10th May 1961 by the Duke of Gloucester and attended by members of the Greek Royal family. My family have visited since then and in fact I took my mother's ashes there to be interred in the grave to enable her to be reunited with my father. “
It would appear that the 2nd Reserve MT Coy. of the RASC were attached to 2nd ANZAC Corps who were fighting with the Greek Army against the Germans.
In a report to the New Zealand MoD about the withdrawal from Greece, Major-
“The remarkable success of this withdrawal surprised both the enemy and ourselves...The Army Service Corps, including the Reserve Motor Transport Company, played a great part in supplying the forces throughout the whole of the operations and in carrying troops.”
Driver Thomas Hadwin is remembered and commemorated on The Patterdale War Memorial, The Phaleron War Cemetery, Greece (Plot 9, Row A, Grave 12).
Thomas's parents continued to live at Wordsworth Cottage until at least 1929 but had moved to 3, Lane Foot, Deepdale by 1934 and were still there when his mother Betsy died on the 25th February 1937, aged 61, and also when his father Stephen died on the 31st July 1946, aged 68. They are both buried in St Patrick's churchyard.
His eldest sister Laura, who was born in Great Strickland around 1898, married Herbert Charles Reed, a Market Gardener, at St Clements Church, Chorlton-
His eldest brother Herbert was born at Troutbeck in early 1900 but sadly died, when only 8 years old, in October 1908. He is buried in St Patrick's churchyard.
His older brother Frank, who was born in Patterdale in 1903, married Norah Tinkler in 1936. They were also living at 3, Lane Foot, Deepdale when Frank died on the 30th July 1984, aged 81, and when Norah died on the 8th May 1988, aged 74.
His youngest sister Mary, who was born in Patterdale in 1913, married Thomas Fleming of Threlkeld in 1936. Mary died in April 2012 and is buried in St Patrick's churchyard.
This information has been expertly researched by Norman Jackson. More information can be found in the History Section of the Patterdale Today website.