Tom was born in the Gorton area of Manchester and spent a number of years there, before the family moved to Reddish. His father, Reuban, married Mary Dakin in 1882 at St James Church, Gorton. In 1901, when the national census was taken, they were living at 105 Church Road, Gorton and Tom, then aged 3, was the youngest of seven children. Tom would be educated at Gorton Municipal School and, by 1915, the family had moved and was living at 28 Hobson Street, North Reddish.
By then, Tom had emigrated to Australia and was living at Nethercote, New South Wales, where he worked as a farm labourer. He enlisted at Liverpool, NSW, on 23 July 1915, falsely giving his age as 19 years and 7 months. His service papers show that he was just over 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. He was of a sallow complexion with hazel eyes and brown hair. He gave his religion as Church of England.
After initial training, he left from Sydney aboard the transport ship "A32 Themistocles", bound for Egypt, on 5 October 1915. By then it had already been decided to withdraw the troops from Gallipoli, so Tom will probably have remained in Egypt until the troops arrived back in mid-December. Tom spent Christmas and New Year at 1st Australian General Hospital in Heliopolis having an operation on his ear. He then spent the rest of January convalescing and joined the 19th Battalion on 5 February. The troops moved to Marseilles and the Western Front on 26 March.
The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July. After the first day failures on the battlefield (except in the south), British and Dominion troops had continously tried to press forward. Towards the end of August, Australian troops were involved in several days fighting around a position in the heart of the battlefield known as Mouquet Farm (or Mucky Farm to the troops).
Another assault on the German positions was planned for 26 August, but Tom and his mates would be held in reserve. On the 25th, the German artillery bombarded the Australian positions, near the village of Pozieres, and it is presumed that this is how Tom was injured. His service file indicates he received a gunshot wound to his leg, but it is much more likely that this was shrapnel. He received treatment the next day from doctors at the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance and was transferred directly to 10th General Hospital based at Rouen, where he died of the injuries.