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:
|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.
Thomas married Ellen Murphy on 3 September 1916 at St George’s Church, Wolverhampton, and they had four children – Frederick James (born 7 December 1916), Ellen (1918), Thomas H. (1922) and John (1925).
Thomas rejoined the army on 17 January 1917, when he was posted to the 295th Reserve Labour Company (number 236658). He was 23 years and 11 months old. His address was given as No. 6 Little Park Street, Wolverhampton, where he was living with his wife Ellen and his son Frederick. Unfortunately his son died on 12 October 1917 in the General Hospital, Wolverhampton. His death was recorded as due to diphtheria and cardiac failure.
Thomas was discharged from the army on 14 December 1917 as “being no longer physically fit for service”. During his army career he sustained gunshot wounds to the neck and shell damage. Thomas died in 1945 at the age of 52.