(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about Thomas' early life or family.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and Thomas joined the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in around mid 1916. This was a unit of the Territorial Force, but by this point in the war the soldiers joining it were just as likely to be conscripts as volunteers. Under conscription it was not unusual for soldiers to be assigned to units with no connection to their local area.
Thomas did not serve overseas until after March 1917. At this time soldiers serving in units of the Territorial Force were given new service numbers. Thomas was given 352681. We don't know his original number.
At this point there were 2 units in the 9th Battalion, the 1/9th and the 2/9th. We don't know which Thomas served with, or anything about his time in France, although both the 1/9th and 2/9th Battalions took part in the Passchendaele Offensive, fought around Ypres in Belgium during the autumn of 1917.
The 1/9th and 2/9th were joined together to form the 9th Battalion in February 1918. We believe Thomas stayed with this unit. The next month the Germans launched a major offensive aimed at defeating the Allies before large number of American soldiers could enter the war against them. The 9th Battalion was one of the units that faced this attack.
The German offensive was defeated by May and the Allies launched their own attack on the 8th August. The 9th Battalion took part in this offensive, which led to the end of the war on the 11th November.
Thomas survived the war, but the rest of his life remains a mystery. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in September 1999.