Thomas was born in about 1890, the son of Mary Sweet. He married Jane Wright on 21 December 1914 at St James’s Church, Wolverhampton, and they had a son, Arthur, on 9 April 1915.
On 23 August 1890, he enlisted with the Worcestershire Regiment (number 7489). During the course of the First World War he was promoted to Lance Corporal, Corporal and then Sergeant. He served in France, Mesopotamia, India and Salonika. He received the following wounds:
- Gun shot wound to the back on about 23 October 1914
- Fracture of the right finger on about 22 July 1915
- Slight wound on 14 August 1915
- Wounded in action on 9 April 1916
The latter was reported in a list of local men reported as wounded in the Express & Star on 20 May 1916. However, Thomas did survive the war, and he and Jane went on to have a further three children – William H., Joseph E. and Jennie – between 1920 and 1925.