Rank: Acting Sergeant
Number: 14822
Unit: 6th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster ) Regiment
Date of Death: 9 February 1917
Age: 32
Cemetery: Basra Memorial

Thomas was born in Birkenhead, as was his older sister, Mary. The names of their parents are not recorded but, by 1901, when the national census was taken, they were both living in Stockport at 93 Shaw Heath. This was the home of their uncle and aunt - James and Annie Molyneaux. Thomas, then 16, worked as a grocer's assistant.

Thomas' service number is relatively early and he may have seen action with the 6th battalion during the ill-fated campaign at Gallipoli. After a period of rest in Egypt, the Batatlion moved to Mesopotamia in February 1916 and he will have, almost certainly, been with them by then.

In the several days before Thomas was killed, the Battalion prepared for an attack on Turkish positions near the town of Kut-al-Amara (approximately midway between Basra and Baghdad). The task of the 13th Division (of which the King's Own was part) was to attack the Turkish positions occupying Dahra Bend - a strategic bend in the River Tigris.

The men spent quiet days in the trenches on the 6th and 7th and made final preparations for the attack on the 8th.

At 10.05am, Thomas and his mates attacked, under cover of an artillery barrage. They came under enemy artillery fire as soon as they went "over the top" to dash across the 150 yards of No Man's Land. The enemy position was taken with comparative ease but the men then came under grenade fire from both flanks. About noon, the enemy counter-attacked but this was repulsed by Lewis gun and rifle fire. Grenade attacks continued all day as the enemy still occupied the trench line on both sides of the King's Own.

At 8pm, a further frontal attack, supported by determined efforts from both flanks, was repulsed with heavy losses to the Turkish troops. The Battalion's War Diary then records that grenade attack from the right flank continued all night "but our men held on and refused to give ground though suffering somewhat heavy casualties."

The King's Own had suffered 197 casualties of whom 52 were dead or missing, including Thomas and another local man, Frederick Brown. Over the course of the War, the locations of many graves were lost and both men are now commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Basra.

The website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission wrongly spells Thomas' surname as Mulvill (without an "e").

© 2006. Design and Layout are the property of Ihelm Enterprises Limited and cannot be reproduced without express permission.
Enter Search Phrase Here:(search may take up to 30 seconds) 
Close Search Window