William Edward Thomas was born in Hope, Flintshire in 1887, the eldest of 6 children born to William & Emma Thomas, both natives of Hope. William (Junior) was baptised in St Cynfarch’s Church, Hope on 23rd February 1887 by Curate Robert Roberts.
The first time we see William in the census is in 1891 when he was 4 years old. He was living with his parents and 12 month old sister in a property called ‘Little Rhyddyn’ which seems to be between Rhyddyn Hall and Mill House. His father William (senior) was working as a general labourer.
In 1901 the family had moved and were living at ‘The Caia’ in Hope. William was then 14 and as well as a younger sister, he had a 6 year old brother. William (senior) was working as a ‘Furnace man’ and 14 year old William was a labourer.
By 1911 the family were living at 5, Coronation Terrace, Abermorddu. The census says William (senior) and Emma had 6 children, with 4 living. William (junior) was still living at home with his parents and 2 youngest siblings. William (senior) was working as a plate layer at a coal mine with younger William and his brother also at the mine as general labourers.
Sometime after 1911, William (junior) joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. From records on Ancestry.com we know he enlisted at Caergwrle and was a Private – Regimental number 1550. Sadly it seems there are no documents available regarding his enlistment and personal details.
We do know that on 4th August 1914 the 5th Battalion RWF (Territorial Force) was stationed at Flint as part of the North Wales brigade of the Welsh Division, and then moved to Conwy. From there they moved to Northampton then Cambridge, and in May 1915 they moved to Bedford.
On 13th May 1915 the 5th Btn along with the 6th Btn became the 158th brigade of the 53rd Division. On 19th July 1915 the Battalion embarked for Gallipoli, from Devonport Plymouth, via Imbros, landing at Suvla Bay on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 9th of August. William and his Battalion were involved in action immediately they arrived.
William had been at Suvla for only 8 days when he was killed by a sniper.
He is commemorated on the Cape Helles Memorial, Sedd al Bahr, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey; Panel 77 to 80, Stone 80A.
He was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1915 Star. He was 28 years old.