Thomas was born on the 9th August 1879 in Bootle, Lancashire to William and Bridget and first mentioned on the 1881 census, the youngest of four sons, the family living at 59 Dun Street, Bootle. Within ten years the family had gained another child, a brother for Thomas and had moved to 44 Audley Street, still within Bootle. Thomas was aged 12 and attended school but as his older brother Patrick and father both worked as stokers on steamships, it wouldn’t be long before Thomas entered the same occupation.
In 1900 Thomas was recorded working aboard the 'DOMINION' as a ship's stoker, and listed as a boarder during the 1901 census, at 81 Gray Street, Bootle, aged 22.
Two years later, on 11th July 1903 he signed up with the Royal Navy Reserve, recorded as 5’8” tall with fair hair and blue eyes and an address given at 37 Beaumaris Street, Seaforth, nr Liverpool. He worked on the ‘CARMANIA’, ‘SAXONIA’, ‘ROWANMORE’, ‘LAKE ERIE’, ‘CERAMIC’ and ‘CALGORIAN’ before being posted for war service to HMS VANGUARD on 15th October 1915.
On the previous census of 1911 he was recorded at home with his wife Mary Ann (Alty whom he married in June 1904) and two daughters, Ann and Mary, along with a boarder, at 37 Beaumaris Street, Seaforth.
Mary Ann received Thomas’s Star, Victory and British war medals following his death along with the RNR Long Service Good Conduct medal which he was awarded in April 1920.
Thomas’s body was one of the very few of the crew whose body was recovered after the ship had exploded. He lies at peace with crew mate Stoker Petty Officer Blight at Lyness Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney.
(#87 - 288/843)
1881,1891,1901 & 1911 England Census
Liverpool, England, Crew Lists 1861-1919
UK, Royal Naval Reserve Service Records Index, 1860-1955 - National Archives BT 377/7/120304 & BT 377/7/102541
UK, Royal Naval Reserve Service Records Index, 1860-1955 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 008 (1914 - 1919)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/8; Scan Number: 0383
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 071/0324/FIT-FLA
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 014 (1914 Jan 01 - 1919 Dec 31)
Headstone image courtesy of Brian Budge
Certificate image courtesy of Gary Cooke