Thomas was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 16th April 1894, to parents Samuel and Dorothea.
His entry on the 1901 census of Ireland states him living with his parents and 5 siblings; he was the youngest child of 3 sons and 3 daughters, living at Upper Meadow Street, Antrim.
10 years later the whole family was still together, living at Spamount Street. Thomas was then 17 and worked as a doffer in a factory (a doffer removed bobbins and spindles from a spinning frame).
Perhaps the monotony of factory work was incentive enough for Thomas to join the Navy on a short service as he began training as a Stoker 2nd Class at HMS PEMBROKE II on 4th January 1913. His records show he was 5'4" tall with brown hair and grey eyes.
Leaving HMS PEMBROKE II on 23rd May 1913 Thomas spent 9 months aboard HMS LONDON, rising in rating to Stoker 1st Class on 4th January 1914. He left on 13th February 1914 with a 'very good' character.
Returning to HMS PEMBROKE II until 31st March 1914, he was posted to HMS VANGUARD on 1st April 1914. He gained his first Good Conduct Badge on 4th January 1916 after 3 years service, but disappointingly this was withdrawn 4 days later due to Thomas' 'insubordination and insulting behaviour'.
Serving with the battleship during the Battle of Jutland, he was 23 when he died and is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.
#258 - 8/843
Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index, 1864-1958
1901 & 1911 Ireland Census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 1119
Ireland, Casualties of World War I, 1914-1922
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: Piece 007; Piece Description: Piece 007 (1914 - 1919)
National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/7; Scan Number: 0036