On 13th January 1915 Thomas enlisted in the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artiliery. Thomas served with the British Expeditionary Force in France and later served in Italy, possibly in 1917 or 1918. On the inside of his bible there is a reference to “No. 9 Reinforcement Camp Italian Expreditionary Forces, Taranto” Taranto is a port in Southern Italy and before WWI the First Squadron of the Italian Navy was based here.
Little is known about Thomas’ military service. It is not known which Brigade he served with.
One story that has survived through the family describes how Thomas saw an Officer mistreat a horse, badly beating it with his crop. Thomas marched up and took the crop from the Officer, who then threatened to have Thomas court martialled. Fortunately for Thomas another Officer witnessed the incident and was prepared to stand up for him. No further action was taken against Thomas.
Thomas was transferred to the Reserve on 8th July 1919.
Thomas also served with the Royal Artillery in WWII as a Gunner. He enlisted on 13th November 1940, giving the incorrect date of birth as 21st June 1901, knocking four years off his age. Thomas was discharged after 4 years 194 days service and became a Para for a period of time before being discharged on 25th May 1945.
After the war Thomas worked as a Fitter’s Labourer for Bibby’s and Tate & Lyle’s.