Thomas W. Rabone was born in the June quarter of 1920 in Chester according to a birth Certificate with the mother’s name as Scarle, (Chester Vol. 8a Page 733) but this would have to be purchased to confirm/deny. On the 28th March 1920 is the date of birth on the Prisoner of War Card.
This is in contrast to Thomas’s age on the Commonwealth War Graves, which states that he was age 22 years when he died in 1944, but that could be a clerical error.
He was the son of William Isaiah & Eva Louie Rabone, who married in Woodbridge in the County of Suffolk in the June quarter of 1919 (Woodbridge Vol. 4a Page 2623).
William Isaiah was working for the His Grace the Duke of Westminster at Eaton Hall, Chester on the 1911 census, it tells us that he was age 28, Single and a Stableman, and had been born in Borner Heath, Salop. On the 1901 census he had been working at Terrick Hall Stables , Whitchurch, Shropshire, age 18. Away from him in Terrick Road, were his parents, Thomas, 42, a Stud Groom, (not Domestic) born Wellesbourne, Warwick and mother Mary, 42, born Preston Gubballs, Shropshire.
I do not know what happened to Thomas in the intervening years, but his parents are seen on the 1939 Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939) living at “Fron Cottage” Top y Fron, Golftyn Lane, Connah’s Quay U.D., Flintshire, Wales with their surname spelt as RATHBONE, William’s date of birth was written down as 17.2.83 but there are other dates above – ; 17.10.83;17.2.85. Eva L Rathbone’s date of birth is given as the 5th August 1896 and she is described as a Cook. There is another lady in the household, Mary Rathbone, who was widowed and her date of birth was 11th October 1854 and doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties” as this register seems to describe all married or widowed lady’s who are not out working.
So it may be Thomas’s Grandmother was living with her son and family, but it looks as though Thomas may have been already in the Army, as the war had been declared on the 3rd September 1939, and I cannot find him on any 1939 Register.
Thomas William’s story is another sad one looking at the Casualty lists etc.
List headed – BT/H 41210 RABONE, Thomas W. Pte 5956692 BR. Of Service – A Date of Capture 15th February 1942 Date of Liberation 21st September 1944 Camp – TH. Written in ink by the said was – “Missing on Board Ship.”
On the List of names (Tokyo Cables) SS/M 4170, Missing from Ship Transporting POW From Thailand to Japan. His name is at the bottom of the page. Dated I think 2nd August 1945
List No. J.H. 282 (Refers to S/T 10) – 35 – Again on the list.
Casualty List 18
Missing (Cont.) all the men including Thomas were listed as Missing on the 15th February 1942.
Casualty List – 2. Previously Posted as Missing now reported Prisoner of War in Japanese Hands (Thailand) (Cont.). -5th Bn Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (cont.) 5956692 RABONE Pte T. 817 15.2..1942.
Casualty List 6. Previously reported Prisoner of War – Malaya, now reported Missing. – 5th Bn Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (cont.) 5956692 RABONE Pte T. 1522 D.N.R.(Date not recorded?).
Casualty List 4. 5th Bn Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. Previously Reported Missing whilst Prisoner of War. Date not Reported, Now Presumed Killed in Action whilst Prisoner of War (Cont.) 21st September 1944.
Prisoner of War Card for Thomas William, gives lots of detail re his family, occupation as a Groom and address, please see below.
Thomas’s is remembered on the Singapore Memorial, with another Connah’s Quay & Shotton lad, Arthur Shackleton, who I believe, like Arthur, was made a Prisoner of War in the Fall of Singapore, on the 15th February 1942, which means after their capture, that their bodies were never found and the Casualty Lists tells a story of the Army trying to find out what happened to him. Thomas was to suffer 2 years longer than Arthur, bless him. Also William Leonard Burrows who is remembered on the Hawarden War Memorial was a Japanese Prisoner of War and died in Japan, he is buried at the Yokohama War Cemetery after cremation, please click on the link to read his story.
Thomas William must, as with thousands of other Servicemen and women, and indeed civilians suffered beyond our comprehension and for many years, we must remember their sacrifice so we could have our freedom.
Thomas William was well loved by his family as his name was put forward to be added to the War Memorial.