(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Thomas was born between November 1899 and April 1900 in Yearsley, North Yorkshire. He was named after his father and his mother was called Margaret Ann. He had 2 older siblings: Mary and William. We don't know what Thomas senior did, as he was not living with his family in either 1901 or 1911. In 1901 Margaret and her children lived with her parents at Westow Grange in the village of Westow, North Yorkshire. We believe this was a farm. In 1911 Thomas lived with his mother and her sister Bertha Alice Beilly somewhere in Westow. Margaret worked as a charwoman.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and once he was 18 Thomas became eligible to be conscripted into the Army in order to fight in it. We don't know when, but he joined the East Yorkshire Regiment and was given the service number 40073. He never served overseas with them and was transferred to the Manchester Regiment in around April or May 1918. He joined the 20th Battalion and was given the service number 76535. Under conscription it was not unusual for soldiers to be assigned to units with no connection to their local area.
The 20th Battalion was in Italy until mid September when they moved to France. We don't know when Thomas joined them. By this time the Allies were constantly advancing against the Germans, in a series of attacks that became known as the Hundred Days Offensive.
Although the Allies were taking ground the Germans put up stiff resistance and casualties during this period were heavy. Thomas took part in the successful attack on German defences along the Selle River in late October, but he was killed in action on the 21st during the advance to the Sambre Canal. He was 18 years old.
After the war Thomas' grave could not be found. Along with 9846 other men who fell in that part of France during the Hundred Days Offensive Thomas is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial near Arras. He is on Panel 9.
Thomas' medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in January 2000.