British War Medal
Thomas was born between January and March 1888 in Manchester. He was named after his father and his mother was called Emma Louisa. He had 3 older siblings: Lena, Ethel and Ralph Gordon, and 3 younger: Norman Benjamin, Lionel Victor and Florence. One other child had died by 1911, we don't know their name.
In 1891 the family lived at 12 Fern Street in Manchester. Thomas senior was a salesman. Ten years later they had moved the short distance to 101 Warwick Street. Thomas senior now worked as a manager at a provision merchant.
Thomas senior died between October and December 1903 aged 47. In 1911 Louisa still lived at 101 Warwick Street with most of her children. Thomas and Norman had left home. They both lived and worked as waiters at the Union Club, 75 Mosley Street in Manchester.
The First World War broke out in August 1914. Although we don't know when, Thomas joined the 7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, which was a Territorial Force unit based on Burlington Street in Manchester. The original 7th Battalion was sent to Egypt on the 10th September 1914. New recruits would be formed into a second 7th Battalion (2/7th).
Soldiers serving with units of the Territorial Force were given new service numbers in around March 1917. Thomas' became 276479. We don't know his old number.
We don't believe Thomas left the UK before the new service numbers were allocated. Unfortunately, because we don't know which unit Thomas was a member of, we can't say for certain where he was stationed.
Both battalions fought on the Western Front in France and Belgium. They took part in the Passchendaele Offensive, which was fought around the Belgian town of Ypres during autumn 1917. They both fought against the German Spring Offensive in March and April 1918. The 2/7th Battalion was disbanded during April, but the 1/7th took part in the Allied attacks of the Hundred Days Offensive. This began in August 1918 and led to the end of the war on the 11th November.
We don't know whether Thomas was ever wounded, but he spent the entire war with units of the Manchester Regiment. Lionel, Norman and Ralph also served in the Army during the First World War, and all survived. Lionel was in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Norman was in the Manchester Regiment and the Labour Corps and Ralph was in the Army Service Corps.
After the war Thomas returned to Manchester. He married Edith Phillis Atkins between January and March 1920. They had one child, Norman, on the 1st January 1921.
The rest of Thomas' life remains a mystery. He died between January and March 1952 in Manchester. He was 64 years old. Edith was 87 when she died in early 1982. Norman married and had children. He died aged 73 in December 1994.
As well as his British War Medal, Thomas was awarded the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.