(L to R) Distinguished Conduct Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Thomas was born on the 12th October 1864 in Oldham. He lived at 24 Park Street in Oldham with his father, John, and mother, Betsy. His father was a labourer working with wood. They had five children including Thomas. His siblings were Sarah, Harry, Joyce and Betty. They largely worked in the cotton industry including Thomas who was a cotton piecer. By 1891 Thomas had married Edith and they were living at 10 Fenny Hill with their two children, Fred and Florence. Thomas was now working as a wood sawyer.
It is not known when exactly Thomas joined the Army. He was given the service number 375693 which due to the length of the number suggests it was towards the end of the First World War. He was assigned to the 10th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.
Thomas proved to be an excellent soldier. He was promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer Class II, one of the highest ranks of non-commissioned officers. On the 3rd June 1918 he earned the Distinguished Service Medal. The citation in the London Gazette of 21st October 1918 reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During the period under review, this warrant officer has rendered valuable services, particularly when the front line posts occupied by his company were flooded out. His great zeal and the able assistance he afforded his officers in withdrawing his men and reorganising the posts before dawn, were worth of the highest praise and when all other messengers had failed, he managed with great courage and endurance, to reach battalion headquarters with a report on the situation.
After the war Thomas returned to his career as a wood machinist. In 1939 he was retired and living with his new wife Emily.
Thomas’s medals were donated to the museum collections in 2015.