Thomas, John Lewis

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John Lewis Thomas

2248, Private, 1st Welsh Guards
Killed in action, 10 September 1916, aged 22
No known grave (Thièpval Memorial, Somme, France)

CWGC registered (no family recorded)

John Lewis Thomas was born at Llanfairfechan on 25 November 1893. He was the son of Charles Thomas and Jane Thomas (née Ellis). In September 1900, he was transferred from Llanfairfechan Infants’ School to the Llanfairfechan National School. The 1901 Census for Wales records the family living at “Llynog House”, Llanfairfechan. John left school in July 1908 to become a grocer’s apprentice. In 1911, the family lived at 2 Glan-y-Mor Terrace. Charles Thomas was described as a seaman and John Lewis Thomas (16), the only child of the marriage, as an apprentice to a bootmaker (Mr J O Jones). John later joined the Caernarfonshire Police as PC 84, being stationed at Llandudno.

John Thomas attested at Bangor on 25 November 1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion of the Welsh Guards at Caterham two days later. His regimental number was 2248. It was not unusual for policemen to be recruited into the Brigade of Guards rather than local regiments. The Welsh Guards had been raised as a new regiment on 26 February 1915. The 1st Battalion landed at Le Havre on 18 August 1915. At about the same time, the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion formed at Wellington Barracks in London.

On 24 February 1916, John Lewis Thomas married Bertha Duce (b 1896) at Bangor Registry Office. Their child, Charles Richard Thomas was born shortly after.

John Thomas disembarked in France on 9 July 1916 and joined the 1st Battalion in the field ten days later. The Battle of Ginchy was fought on 9 September 1916. After the battle, the Welsh Guards relieved troops of the 16th (Irish) Division and intensive fighting continued. On 10 September 1916, the Welsh Guards received 195 casualties including John Lewis Thomas who was killed in action aged 22. He has no known grave.

Known memorials:

  • Thièpval Memorial, Somme, France
  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Llanfairfechan War Memorial
  • North Wales Police on-line Roll of Honour

1 comment to Thomas, John Lewis

  • Gwyn Thomas


    I am J L Thomas’s grandson, the son of the Charles R[ichard] mentioned above – and I was amazed to find his biography here – congratulations on the site.

    His papers have in fact survived (the Guards kept their service papers separate from those of the rest of the Army so they weren’t destroyed in the Blitz) and I can fill in a few details for you.

    He attested at Bangor on 25.11.1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion at Caterham on 27.11.1915. He went out to France as part of the 7th draft on 9.7 1916, joining the 1st Battalion in the field on 19.7.1916.

    He married my grandmother at Bangor Registry Office on 24.2.1916 and my father was born (oops) on the following day.

    Best wishes
    Gwyn Thomas

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