Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Celia Drew
Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: No known local memorial
Name / Enw: Thomas, Thomas William
Regiment/Catrawd: 5th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private, 3786 on enlistment 241515 at time of death
Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Jerusalem Memorial
Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Panels 20 to 22.
Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: Israel and Palestine (including Gaza)
Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: British War Medal, Military Medal
Date of Death: 9th March 1918
Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:
Died in Palestine 9th March 1918, aged 25.
Thomas was born 6th May 1892 to a local family.
His parents were:
- Joseph Thomas (1869 – 1951) was born in the Wern, Whitford. He was the 6th child of 7 children born to Thomas Thomas (a collier) and Margaret (nee Pryce).
- Margaret Vaughan, (1868 – 1941) in Bodelwydden or St George. The second of 3 children.
Joseph and Margaret where married on 3rd November 1890, in Holywell register office.They had 5 children, all of whom survived to adulthood:
- Peter Thomas, born 28th May 1891, died August 1953. Peter remained single, working as a blast furnace man, and lived with his parents at 2 Red Lion Cottages (recorded in the 1939 Register) until they died.
- Margaret Elizabeth Thomas b 1895, who lived n Dock Road, Connahs Quay after the war.
- John Thomas b 1897. Served as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers for 4 years and 9 months, and survived the war. He later married Gladys, became an insurance agent, and lived in Coed Onn Road, Flint.
- Robert Owen Thomas b 1902
In 1901 the family lived in Red Lion Cottages, a row of cottages housing 4 families in Rhewl.
Peter and Thomas started school within one week of each other at the Lady Augusta School, in Mostyn, in the spring of 1895.
In 1911 Thomas was an 18 year old farm labourer on the Mostyn Estate, where his father was a carter.
In late 1915 Thomas volunteered for the army. His address at enlistment was the family home: 2, Red Lion Cottages, Rhewl, Mostyn. His occupation was given as “Washer up” (although he was described as a motor driver on his medical history in March 1916). His height was 5’ 7”, weight was 126 lb, and physical condition good.
Thomas signed his attestation papers on 10th December 1915 in Mostyn, and was attached to the Army Reserve on 11th December 1915. He was mobilised on 9th March 1916, joining the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 12th March 1916 at Wrexham. Thomas was posted as a private to the 3/5 Battalion on the 14th March, to the 1/5 Battalion on the 26th June 1916, and the Egyptian Expeditionary Force on the 27th June 1916.
Wikipedia says the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) was a British Army formation, formed on 10 March 1916 under the command of General Archibald Murray from the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and the Force in Egypt (1914–15), at the beginning of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War. This was fought between the British Empire and the Ottoman Empire supported by the German Empire. It started with an Ottoman attempt at raiding the Suez Canal in 1915, and ended with the Armistice of Mudros in 1918, leading to the secession of Ottoman Syria and Palestine.
It is not known where Thomas served but the 1/5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Egypt in August 1916 fought at the battle of Romani. In 1917 they fought at The First Battle of Gaza, The Second Battle of Gaza, The Third Battle of Gaza, The Capture of Beersheba, The Capture of Tell Khuweilfe, The Capture of Jerusalem, the Defence of Jerusalem and therefore it is likely that he served in at least some of these battles.
There is no evidence of which battle in which Thomas died but as the back of his record card in the Flintshire Record Office states that “Pte T W Thomas was killed in in Palestine while serving with the D Coy 1/5th Batt of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on March 9th 1918”. We can surmise the circumstances of his death by the details of his battalion’s action in the battle of Tell ‘Asur in the Jordan valley. The following account (and greater detail) can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tell_%27Asur:
The battle of Tell ‘Asur began during the night of 8 March. The Tell was a very valuable observation post with views extending north to the hills of Galilee with Mount Hermon in the background 90 miles (140 km) away, in the east and south-east to Gilead, Moab and most of the Dead Sea, in the south over the Mount of Olives to the heights of Hebron and west to the Mediterranean from south of Jaffa to north of Caesarea. It was captured by the 5th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers about 09:30 after a heavy bombardment by the 91st Heavy Battery but the position was far from secure being subjected to a successful counter-attack shortly after, but the 6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers drove them off. Four unsuccessful attempts by Ottoman forces were made to regain this hill.
Thomas has no known grave but he is commemorated on a panel on the Jerusalem Memorial.
So far his name has not been found on any memorial in the Mostyn area. However there is a record card for Thomas in the Flintshire Record Office, written in what appears to be his father’s handwriting.
Records show that Joseph Thomas received his son’s effects (£13 14s 6d, presumably his pay) in 1918, and his son’s war gratuity of £8 10s in 1919.
A document signed by his father in 1920 and certified as correct (by T E Willams Minister of Religion of Kinsale Hall) lists the living relatives of Thomas.