Thomas Whitham was born in Worsthorne. He enlisted in the Coldstream Guards in 1915 and served until 1919. Thomas was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of Pilckem Ridge 31st July, 1917, at the start of the Third Ypres (Passcendaele) campaign.
His citation, published in the London Gazette reads (with his name incorrectly spelt as Witham): “For most conspicuous bravery when, during an attack, an enemy machine gun was seen to be enfilading the battalion on the right. Private Witham, on his own initiative, immediately worked his from shell hole to shell hole, through our own barrage, rushed the machine gun & although under heavy fire, captured it together with an officer and two other ranks. The bold action was of great assistance to the battalion and undoubtedly saved many lives and allowed the whole line to advance.”
Thomas’ Victoria Cross and watch were acquired by Towneley Hall museum and a portrait of him was paid for by the Corporation. This is also in Towneley.
A plaque dedicated to Thomas was laid by local man, Brian Hirst, at the site of the action in Belgium in 2015.