Thomas was born in Liverpool but the family later moved to Stockport. The family home, which Thomas had shared with his parents, brother and sister, was at 23 Great Egerton Street. He was married and lived not far away at 67 Old Road.
He enlisted in September 1914, living his job at Craven's Works, Reddish.
Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire and an ally of Germany. Then as now, Britain relied heavily on oil from the area. When war broke out in August 1914, British troops were quickly sent to the area to protect its interests by occupying the oilfields and pipeline near Basra.
Conditions for the men were appalling. Extremes of temperature (120 degrees F was common); arid desert and regular flooding; flies, mosquitoes and other vermin: all led to very high levels of sickness and death through disease. Under these conditions, units fell short of officers and men, and all too often the reinforcements were half-trained and ill-equipped. Medical arrangements were quite shocking, with wounded men spending up to two weeks on boats before reaching any kind of hospital.
Thomas was one of many who lost his life through illness rather than combat. He contracted dysentery and died in hospital at Amara.