Thomas was born in Marple, the son of Mrs Elizabeth Barton. His father's name is not known but it is thought he had died by the time of the Great War. In 1901, when a census was taken, Thomas was living as a boarder at 10 Reddish Vale, Reddish. He was an apprentice to a baker and this was, probably, his employer's home. Mrs Barton and Thomas' sisters lived at 2 Spring Road, Stockport. Nothing else is known of his private life, except that he enlisted into the army in Stockport and had continued with his craft, becoming a baker and confectioner.
At the end of October 1917, the Shropshires took over a new section of the front line near Bullecourt at a position only described as the "Apex". They would stay there for five days before being relieved by the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots and moving back to billets at Vaulx-Vraucourt. Over the coming weeks the two Battalions would alternate five day tours of duty. It was a quiet time and casualties were minimal.
On 24 November, it was the turn of Thomas and his mates to go back into the front line. The next day a great deal of movement was noticed behind the enemy lines and it was thought that the Germans may be withdrawing from their trenches. Strong patrols were sent out into No Man's Land to find out what was going on. The patrols reported that whilst the trenches were generally occupied, the Germans had, indeed, withdrawn from some sectors.
These were quickly occupied by the Shropshires and, over the coming two days, small sentry posts were dug and barbed wire put out to start to incorporate these gains into the British trench system. The Battalion War Diary notes that this was very difficult as there as hostile machine gun and artillery fire.
On the 28th, the work of incorporating the posts into the trench system continued. The Diary again noted that the German artillery was very active and shelled the front line trenches occupied by the Battalion. Although there is no mention of casualties, it is almost certain that Thomas was killed by this shelling.