Appeal to find relatives of forgotten WWI soldier Thomas Carrigan

Wandsworth Guardian: Geoff Simmons outside Pt Carrigan's former Summerstown home in Wimbledon Road Geoff Simmons outside Pt Carrigan's former Summerstown home in Wimbledon Road

A graphic designer gripped by the history of a community torn apart by war is searching for the descendants of a forgotten WWI soldier.

Geoff Simmons, who has lived in Summerstown for 15 years, was inspired by an appeal published in the Wandsworth Guardian last year to find the family of a fallen soldier from the parish.

After joining forces with Reverend Dr Roger Ryan, vicar of St Mary's Summerstown, he determined to trace the stories of all 182 names on the St Mary's Summerstown memorial.

Thomas Carrigan was one of a family of nine children who lived at 11 Wimbledon Road, now a fried chicken takeaway near Wimbledon Stadium.

Son of a Dublin-born leather-grounder, he joined the family trade before being enlisted to the 5th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment at the outbreak of war and sent to fight in India and Mesopotamia.

Captured in 1916 after the 147-day Siege of Kut, south of Baghdad, he was route-marched as a prisoner of war more than one thousand miles back to Turkey.

He survived as far as Istanbul but died soon afterwards and is buried in the Haidar Pasha cemetery, just outside the city.

Mr Simmons, who organises tours for people interested in discovering the forgotten community, said: "These boys were all privates. They all came from humble backgrounds.

"I visualised the lost soldiers with a map of poppies which really struck a chord with people, just thinking how many people were killed."

Wandsworth Guardian:

Geoff Simmons charts orgins of fallen Summerstown soldiers 

Mr Simmons believes relatives of Pt Carrigan might be living in south west London who might like to know about their ancestor.

The family name is Plumridge, descended from Pt Carrigan's sister, Alice Rosina.

Mrs Rosina's son Lawrence married a Valerie Ritchie and two of her grandsons, Andrew and Kevin, were born in Wandsworth in 1969 and 1974.

Andrew and Kevin Plumridge lived in Wandsworth as recently as 2003, but are believed to have moved to Wallington, Sutton.

Do you know the family? Contact louisa.clarence@london.newsquest.co.uk

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