Poppy Ernest William Noel THOMAS (1895–1917) Poppy

Ernest Thomas

Ernest William Noel Thomas was born at 142 Kingston Road, Oxford on Christmas Day 1895 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 8 March 1896.

His father was William Arthur Thomas, who was born in Bicester and baptised there on 1 October 1864, the son of a grocer. At the time of the 1891 census he was working as a brewer's traveller and boarding in a lodging house at 11 Worcester Place in Oxford.

His mother was Florence Lucy Trinder, who was born in Cirencester and baptised there in July 1869, the daughter of the innkeeper at The Fleece

His parents were married in the Hastings registration district in the fourth quarter of 1894 and had six children:

  • Ernest William Noel Thomas (born at 142 Kingston Road, Oxford on 25 December 1895 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 8 March 1896)
  • Mary Florence Thomas, known as Peggy (born at 142 Kingston Road, Oxford on 5 June 1898 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 17 July)
  • Kathleen Lucy Georgina Thomas (born at 142 Kingston Road, Oxford on 12 September 1900 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 11 November)
  • Sybil May Thomas (baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 5 July 1903; died aged one in the first quarter of 1905)
  • Janet Alice Thomas (baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 16 October 1904; died in the fourth quarter of 1904)
  • Marjorie Annetta Thomas (born at 142 Kingston Road, Oxford on 8 December 1906 and baptised at St Margaret’s Church on 27 January 1907).

Ernest’s father William Thomas was a brewer’s commercial traveller (and described as a beer & whisky vendor at his daughter’s baptism in 1904). After their marriage his parents moved to 142 Kingston Road, Oxford (which until 1896 was in SS Philip & James parish).

At the time of the 1901 census Ernest (5) was living at 142 Kingston Road with his father William (36), his mother Florence (31), and his sisters Mary (2) and Kathleen (six months), plus a 15-year-old servant girl.

They were living there at the time of the 1901 census with their first three children and a domestic servant. Ernest's youngest sister Marjorie was born there in 1906.

Ernest attended Bedford House School at 122 Walton Street, and was then apprenticed to Boots the Chemist in Oxford.

At the time of the 1911 census Ernest (15) described as an apprentice chemist, was listed as living at 80 Kingston Road in St Margaret’s parish with his father William (47), who was still a brewer's commercial traveller, his mother Florence (41), and his sisters Mary (12), Kathleen (10), and Marjorie (4). They also had a boarder.

Poppy In the First World War Ernest William Noel Thomas first volunteered to enlist in 1914 at the age of 18 with the 2/4 Regiment of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (OBLI). In March 1915, after his nineteenth birthday, he joined the 1/4 Battalion of the OBLI as a Private (Service No. 3584). He arrived in France on 25 June 1915, and was awarded the Military Medal on 21 October 1916.

Ernest Thomas's war diaryErnest Thomas's war diary

In early 2017 Ernest returned to England to train as an officer, and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant on 31 August 1917. He rejoined the OBLI in October, this time as a Second Lieutenant with the 6th Battalion.

In April 1917 during the Second Battle of Arras, the British launched an attack to capture the village of Villiers-Plouich, which is 3.2 km from Gouzeaucourt. The photograph below shows Ernest Thomas and a friend in that village.

Edwin Thomas and friend

Ernest Thomas

Less than two months later, on the first day of the Battle of Cambrai (20 November 1917), Ermest William Noel Thomas was killed in action in France at the age of 21 while leading his men across no-man's land.

He has no known grave. He is remembered on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval (Panel 7), on the Boots the Chemist war memorial in Nottingham, and on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford.


Right: Photograph in newspeper © Images
& Voices, Oxfordshire County Council

St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Ernest’s father
  • William Arthur Thomas remained at 80 Kingston Road until at least 1936.

See also

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