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Thomas Henry Evans was born in Portobello, Willenhall in 1893, the son of Frederick and Emma Evans (nee Doughty). In 1901 they were living at 34-35 New Street, Portobello, together with Thomas’s brothers (Frederick, Sydney, Arthur and Joseph) and sister Maud. Thomas’s father, Frederick, died in 1907. By 1911, they were at 9 Court, Warwick Street, Wolverhampton, and were joined by a further sister, Annie, and brother Frank. By this date Thomas was a hinge caster.

Thomas enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment on 21 March 1912 (number 9098). However, by 15 October 1912 he had been discharged, on the grounds of “having made a false answer on attestation”. Closer examination of his military records reveal that he claimed to have never been sentenced to imprisonment by the Civil Power. A list of his previous convictions, provided by Wolverhampton Borough Police, proves otherwise:

DATE OFFENCE SENTENCE
8 Dec 1906 Stealing 16/3 from the p[arso]n 1 day, 10 strokes
3 Sep 1910 Stealing growing apples 2/6 or three days.
6 Sep 1911 Stealing 80 bunches of grapes 10/- & costs, or 7 days
7 Oct 1912 Drunk & Disorderly 10/- & costs, or 14 days.

It was the latter offence that came to the attention of the military authorities. Thomas was sent a letter on 9 October 1912, stating that “On account of your having been convicted at the Police Court Wolverhampton of being Drunk and Disorderly your furlough has been cancelled”, and he was ordered to return to Lichfield to rejoin his company. On being discharged, he was still awarded a weekly 6 month conditional pension of 18/9. It is not clear whether Thomas ever rejoined the army or saw any war service.

Thomas married Ellen Murphy on 3 September 1912 at St George’s Church, Wolverhampton, and they had two children – Frederick J. (born 1916 but died in 1917) and Ellen in 1918. Thomas himself died in 1945 at the age of 52.

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