Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
Thomas was born in around June 1841 in Robertstown in County Kildare, Ireland. We don't know anything about his early life or family.
In late 1863 Thomas was working as a groom. On the 23rd December he travelled to Dublin and joined the Army. He enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the 18th Regiment of Foot and was given the service number 1037.
When he enlisted Thomas was around 5 feet 6 inches tall. He had a 'fresh' complexion, blue eyes and black hair. He was accepted into the Army and made 'his mark' (an 'x') on the enlistment paper.
Thomas served with the 18th Regiment for just over 2 years. They sailed to India in September 1864 and were stationed in Secunderabad at the end of 1865. We don't know why, but Thomas transferred to the 96th Regiment of Foot on the 31st December 1865. They gave him the service number 1109.
The 96th were based in the Bombay Presidency in western and central India until mid 1868. They then moved north east to the Bengal Presidency. By October 1869 the 96th were at the town of Dum Dum. Their last station was Dinapore, now called Danapur.
Thomas began to receive 1 penny (1d) per day Good Conduct Pay on the 26th December 1866. This was increased to 2d per day on the 2nd June 1870, 3d on the 26th December 1875 and 4d on the 26th December 1879.
We don't know much about Thomas' service during this period. The 96th was based in India until December 1873, when it returned to the UK. On the 6th November 1874 Thomas married Doreen Greece in Warley, Essex. We don't believe they had any children.
The 96th Regiment was stationed at Warley until late 1875 or early 1876, when they moved to Colchester. They were in Manchester by 1879 and later served in Aldershot, Hampshire.
On the 1st July 1881 the 96th Regiment was renamed the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. Soon afterwards they left the UK for Malta. Thomas did not go with them. He was assigned to the 63rd Regimental District. This was the Manchester Regiment's recruiting area. Its headquarters were at the Regimental Depot in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. We believe Thomas was based here until he left the Army on the 8th December 1884, after 21 years.
Thomas was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for 18 years service, in January 1882. His life after he left the Army remains a mystery.