Thomas was the son of Richard Salt, a farmer, and his wife Mary. They had five children, all of whom survived at least until their twenties.
Richard came from Stanton by Dale in Derbyshire and in Shardlow in 1881 he married Mary (nee Davies) who was from Hickling Pastures. Their children were all born in Hickling Pastures, where Richard farmed at Field Farm. They were:
- John Arthur, born 9 March 1883
- Albert Davies, born 26 August 1884
- Richard Ernest, born 17 March 1888
- Mary E, born 12 August 1889
- Thomas William, born in 1896 (William on the Hickling war memorials, so he was probably known by that name)
In 1911 the boys, ranging from age 28 down to Thomas at 14, were all working on their father’s farm in Hickling Pastures, along with their father’s brother Thomas.
Thomas enlisted with the 13th (Service) (1st Barnsley) Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment (also known as the Barnsley Pals) in Derby. This Battalion saw its first action in Egypt in December 1915, then moved to France in March 1916. Thomas died of wounds on 12 April 1918. On 18th May 1918 the Grantham Journal reported: “On Wednesday week, Mr and Mrs R Salt, of Hickling Pastures, received the sad news that their younger son, Pte. Thomas William Salt, York and Lancasters, had died in France, of wounds received in action on April 21st [sic]. Pte. Salt was 21 years of age, of a quiet, unassuming disposition, and a lover of home. He answered his country’s call in 1916, and, after training, he was drafted to France. Subsequently returning home, he was for a time employed on the farm, returning to France after the beginning of the great offensive at the end of March. Mr and Mrs Salt and family have the sincere sympathy of all in their great sorrow.” Thomas has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. However, he is commemorated on his parents’ headstone: “In ever loving memory of Thomas William Salt youngest son of Richard & Mary Salt killed in action April 12th 1918 aged 21 years. Though sleeping in a far off grave, Dearest one you are not forgotten.”
John Arthur, it is believed, married Elizabeth Ann Allcock in the Codnor Bethesda Chapel in 1911. On 11 June 1938 his daughter Helen married Police Constable Charles Sanforth Bennett from Coventry. The Grantham Journal of 18 June covered the event: “A Full Church at Hickling for Wedding of Miss Helen Salt. At St Luke’s church, Hickling, on Saturday, Mr Charles Sandford Bennett, of Coventry, was married to Miss Helen Salt, only daughter of Mr and Mrs JA Salt, of Turnpike farm, Hickling Pastures. … The ceremony attracted a good deal of interest, the church being filled.” In 1939 John and Elizabeth were still living at Turnpike Farm where John was a dairy farmer; also listed is their son, Alwyn Salt, (he is listed as giving his sister Helen a wedding present at the time of her marriage).
Albert Davies Salt married Mary Oxby at Kinoulton on 24 October 1912. Albert was described as a grazier, as was Mary’s father. In 1938 Mary and others “contributed songs and sketches” at a pork pie tea organised by the Kinoulton women’s British Legion. In 1939 the family were living at Field Farm, Hickling Pastures, with their son John Richard. Albert was working as a dairy farmer, his wife assisted in the dairy and John Richard assisted his father. Albert was buried in Hickling in 1951, aged 67. As a young woman Margaret Wadkin had helped her brother Donnie, who ran a butcher’s business in Hickling. She recalled delivering meat to Albert’s house: “Mrs Salt always made me a cup of tea with a slice of cake and wanted to know all the news from the village”. In 1976, when Margaret Wadkin wrote her memoirs, Albert and Mary had died “a long while ago, but their only child, John lives at the farm with his family”. John married Janet B Taylor in Leicester in 1955 and they had two children, Richard A and Jennifer A. A descendent of this branch of the family still farms at Field Farm.
Richard Ernest married Elizabeth Ann Dawn of the Lime Kiln Inn, Cropwell Bishop, in 1915. They had two daughters baptised in Hickling, Mabel on 14 April 1916 and Grace in 1919. In 1932 Grace was the May Queen in the village school May Pageant. In 1937 Mabel and Grace won second and third place respectively in the WI competition for home-made scones. The winner was Mrs Salt, but it is not clear which Mrs Salt! Over the years Mabel also won WI competitions for, inter alia, sewing, best-dressed doll, writing a poem, begonia growing, scrapbooks (sent to the children’s hospital for Christmas) and knitting. She also served on the WI committee and represented the local branch at national meetings. In 1937 it was Mabel’s 21st birthday and a party was held in the school for 80 guests, with dancing in the evening. On the following day Mr and Mrs Salt entertained all of the school children to a tea and then an evening of games and dancing. In 1939 the family were living at The Blossoms, Hickling Pastures, where Richard was a dairy farmer, along with Mabel and two others whose identity has been withheld because they are believed still to be alive. One of these was probably Grace. She married Robert Ernest Webbon, a draughtsman from Upper Broughton, in 1942. Grace was at that time working as a shorthand typist. Mabel died in Nottingham in 1981, age 65. Her father Richard had died in 1958 and at that time the family probably left The Blossoms.
Mary married John Boswell, a farmer from Kinoulton, in 1910. By the census of 1911, they had a three-month old daughter Winifred. In 1939 John and Mary were living at Black’s Farm, Kinoulton, where John was a dairy farmer. Living with them were two daughters, Alice Elizabeth, born in 1915, and Margaret Ellen, born in 1922. Alice Elizabeth married Francis Thomas Tomlinson, a farmer from Hickling, in 1942. Margaret Ellen married Robert Ellis Faulks, also a farmer from Hickling, in 1952. Like Margaret, Robert Ellis had an uncle killed in the Great War (John George Faulks). These last two later lived at Black’s farm.
As to the parents of these five children, Richard died on 18 November 1927. The Grantham Journal reported: “The death of Mr Richard Salt took place at his residence on Friday last week, at the age of 79 years. For many years the deceased was engaged in agriculture on the Hickling Pastures. Retiring in favour of his eldest son, he came to reside with his wife on some property he had acquired in the village several years ago. He lived a very quiet and retiring life, devoting his time to his fowls and garden. His remains were laid to rest on Monday afternoon, in the Parish Churchyard. He leaves a widow, three sons, and one daughter; one son gave his life during the late war.” Mary died on 10 December 1928. The Grantham Journal reported: “The death of Mrs Mary Salt, widow of Mr Richard Salt, took place on Monday. Deceased, who was in her 76th year, had a stroke three weeks ago. For many years she lived at Hickling Pastures, where her husband farmed, and being of a cheery disposition she had many friends. Her remains were laid to rest on Wednesday, in the village Churchyard.”