Thomas Clifford (1874 – 1917) Kilbirnie born footballer who played for Manchester Utd. Joined the Royal Scots Fusilliers and was sent to France in 1917 where he was killed during operation at the Ancre river.
Thomas Clifford was born on the 14th of August, 1874 in Kilbirnie North Ayrshire.
A talented young footballer, he was spotted while playing for Annbank in the 1895/96 season and signed for a wee club called Newton Heath, now known as Manchester United. He didn’t make any appearances for the club but represented them at reserve level.
He embarked upon a career as a journeyman footballer. Between 1897 and 1901 he played for Ayr Football Club (1897-98) in the 2nd Division Scottish League, Glossop North End (1898-99) in the English Football League before eventually signing for Luton Town (1900-1901). He was active in these years, making 10 appearances for Ayr, 39 for Glossop and 23 for Luton.
He had spells at Celtic and Beith F.C before signing for Motherwell, playing in the Scottish First Division in the 1904/05 season. One final season in 1905/06 seems to have preceded his retirement from the game and we aren’t sure what Thomas did in the years before the outbreak of World War I.
Thomas joined the Royal Scots Fusilliers and spent most of his service in the UK. He had joined at quite an old age for military service and likely lied about it in order to serve.
He was sent to France in 1917 and was there a matter of weeks before being killed during operations at the Ancre river, on the 19th of January 1917. His name is one of 72,000 listed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, in Northern France.
He was 42 years old.