Crimea Medal with clasps 'Alma', 'Balaklava', 'Inkermann', 'Sebastopol'
We don't know anything about Thomas' early life or family.
He joined the 63rd Regiment of Foot in around March 1852 and was given the service number 2812. At this time the regiment was stationed in Limerick, Ireland. It had moved to Dublin by the end of June. We don't know anything about Thomas' service during this time.
The Crimean War broke out in October 1853, and Britain and France declared war on Russia in March 1854. At first the 63rd Regiment was not intended to take part in this fighting, but in June it was ordered to prepare to go to war. Thomas arrived in the Crimea, then in Russia but today part of the Ukraine, in September 1854.
Thomas and the 63rd Regiment played a minor role in the Battle of the Alma on the 20th September. They then moved to Cathcart's Hill, where they joined the siege of Sevastopol. The Russians attacked these forces at the Battle of Balaklava on the 25th October. Thomas took part in this battle, which ended in a Russian victory and led to a much larger battle on the 5th November, at Inkerman.
The Russians were again the attackers, but the 63rd Regiment were ordered to counterattack. After vicious hand to hand fighting they pushed the Russians back to a position called the Barrier. The Russians were determined to take this position, but the regiment held them off. The 63rd Regiment lost around 18 men killed and around 100 wounded during the fighting. Thomas was one of the men killed. Another was Lieutenant George Curtois, whose medal is also in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment collection.
Thomas' medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in early 1950.