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Thomas was born in Basford, Nottingham, on 15 March 1894. He was the son of Mary Elizabeth Slack, who married Alfred Carter in 1899. By 1911, Thomas was a flower pot maker, living with Alfred and Mary and siblings Jack, Polly and Frank Carter, at 3 Roman Yard, Quarry Road, Bulwell, Nottinghamshire. Thomas married Elsie M. Carter in Wolverhampton in 1916.

Thomas enlisted as a Private, first with the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 36327) and then with the 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers (number 38641). He was killed in action in France on 12 August 1918. He is buried at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul, France, and is remembered on the memorials at Heath Park and Deans Road.