- Tyne Cot Memorial
- Panel: 13A
Thomas Joseph Gilhooly was a 19 year old man from Dunbar, Scotland. Private Gilhooly was part of the 12th Battalion Royal Scots, 27th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division. In October 1917, his battalion took part in the First Battle of Passchedaele.
On the night of 9 October 1917, in a stinging downpour, the battalions of the 27th Brigade arrived at Brake Camp. The men snatched what sleep they could under the flimsy cover of bivouacs, hastily erected on the sodden ground. On 12 October 1917 the 9th (Scottish) Division was to attack German positions southeast of Poelkapelle. The first stage of the attack was to be carried out by the 26th Brigade, which was to advance the line to a point beyond Source Farm. The 27th Brigade, led by the 12th and the 11th Royal Scots, was to carry on the line to Vat Cottages. In the early hours of the 12th, in inky darkness the troops groped their way along the slippery and treacherous tracks. While coming up to the frontline, they came under a heavy barrage of gas and high explosive shells. The shelling along the assembly line was ferocious, and both Highlanders and Lowlanders suffered grievously even before the battle began at 5.35 a.m.
This was the prelude to a disastrous battle. The 12th Royal Scots were sent into battle long before the first objective of the 26th Brigade was reached. They co-operated with the Seaforths in charging and capturing Inch Houses. A mixed group of Black Watch, Seaforths and 12th Royal Scots pressed on as far as the eastern fringes of the hamlet of Wallemolen, but being attacked from both flanks they were forced to withdraw to a line running from the Cemetery to Inch Houses.Any further attack was neigh to impossible. The barrage had been irretrievably lost; the various units were so mixed up that it was impossible to sort them out, and the men were so exhausted that they were unable to carry on. A line was formed in front of a captured pill-box and no further attempt was made to advance. Both Royal Scots Battalions were sadly crippled by the action. The 12th Royal Scots suffered 235 casualties. 235 men were either killed, wounded, taken prisoner or went missing.
Thomas Joseph Gilhooly was one of them. His body was never found. Today, he is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial panel 13A.