Arthur’s father, James, had been born in Dodleston, Cheshire, where he married Ann Simons in 1888 in St. Mary’s Church. On the 1891 census he was a Gamekeeper, age 30. His wife Ann was 27. They had a son Samuel who was 9 months old.
In the 1901 census the family was living at the Lodge, Bretton. James 40, was a Forest Labourer. His wife Ann was 36. Their listed children were Samuel 10, May 9, Annie 8, Arthur 6, Ellen 4, Walter 2 and William just 10 days old. All had been born at Bretton.
The 1911 census records the family still at the Bretton Lodges. James, 50 was a General Labourer. His wife of 22 years Ann was 47. Nine children had been born and they were all living. Listed at home were Samuel 20, a General Labourer, Annie Myatt 18, son Arthur 16 was a Labourer, Walter Alexander 12, William 10, Margaret, 8 and Sophia 5.
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms all the regimental details above and tells us that for some reason, Arthur enlisted in the 16th Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Eccles, Lancashire. His medal card also on ‘Ancestry’ details his medals but does not tell us his first Theatre of War nor when he entered it.
There are two index cards for Arthur in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record office in Hawarden. One of them was (Card Hawarden F32) which had been written and signed by W. Thomas on the 14th January 1920. Probably one of Arthur’s Brothers, either Walter, the eldest or William who was 2 years younger.
The other card was (Card Saltney Ferry F33) for Arthur Thomas. The address given was Bretton Lodge His regimental details were confirmed as at the top of this page. he served for 1 year and 10 months.he had been Killed in Action on the 10th December 1917. This card was Card signed by E.L. Roberts 26th October 1919.
Arthur’s Army Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk . They tell us that he attested in Eccles on the 3rd December 1915. He was 20 years and 11 months old and his trade was ‘Striker’. The address recorded was 13 Unicorn Street Patricroft (?) (Possibly Sandycroft). He was medically examined on the 3rd December and the description of him said that he was 5’7and a half inches tall,weighed 140lbs and had a chest measurement of 35 with a 3 inch expansion range. His physical development was good and he had distinguishing moles on his left shoulder and left forearm and a scar on his little finger. His next of kin was his father James Thomas also of 13 Unicorn street. His religion was C of E
He was listed in The Army Reserve from the 4th December 1915 and he was actually appointed to The Royal Welsh Fusiliers on the 20th March 1916.
He served ‘at home’ from 3rd December 1915 until 29th November 1916. This included training at Litherland near Liverpool. Whilst at Litherland he got into trouble a few times mostly from being absent from wherever he should have been. He was punished by being Confined to Barracks for a set number of days.
He was in France from the 30th November 1916 until the 25th February 1917. On the 14th February 1917 he was injured ‘in the field’ and was taken to hospital in Rouen and from there he was returned invalided to England on the ship ‘Narilda’. He had experienced a gunshot wound to the fourth finger of his right hand.
He was then ‘at home’ from 26th February 1917 until 3rd September 1917. He spent 52 days in hospital after having the end of his finger amputated under anaesthetic. The Cottage Hospital Southport and The First Western General Fazakerly were named hospitals. He was eventually deemed to be healed enough to be fit for light duties.
He went back to France on 4th September 1917 where he served until his death on the 10th December 1917.
There is correspondence in the records between the Army and Arthur’s father James. This is concerned with the sending and receiving of his personal effects, his medals and his Commemorative plaque, scroll and letter from the king.
After the war James Thomas was asked to complete a relatives form. listing all of Arthur’s relatives who were still living. This list included the following
Parents James and Ann Thomas The Lodge, Bretton
Brothers (All named Thomas and all at The Lodge Bretton) Samuel 29, Walter 20, William 18.
Sisters (All Thomas and all at The Lodge Bretton) May 28, annie 26, Ellen 22, Margaret 17, Sophia ?
Arthur is also remembered on the Broughton War Memorial, and also commemorated on the memorial at Bretton Methodist Chapel and on the “Fallen” Flintshire WW1 Index Cards for Saltney Ferry.(see Saltney Ferry)
Cutting from the Hawarden Parish Magazine 1917
Walter, his brother, was also in the Army, but survived as can be seen by the Flintshire WW1 Index Card (Saltney Ferry L 207) – Thomas, Walter A. Bretton Lodge. 241068 4th R.W.F. Cpl. Period of Service 4 years. Card signed by E.L. Roberts 26th October 1919.