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Tom was born in Wolverhampton in 1894, the son of Ellen Gleve. In 1901, he was living with his widowed mother and sisters Ellen, Elizabeth and Annie, at 47 Prole Street, Wolverhampton. By 1911, he was working as a core maker for an iron foundry, and they were living at 2 Coven Street, Wolverhampton.

On 26 May 1915, Tom enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery, first service number 1995 and later 805111. He reached the rank of Corporal but became sick and was discharged on 12 July 1919. on 23 June 1919, he was issued with the Silver War Badge (number 502366). Unfortunately, he died in Wolverhampton in 1920, presumably as the result of his sickness.