Royal Horse Guards
This information provided by Michael Willoughby project co-ordinator and researcher for the Henley Lest We Forget WW1 Remembrance project. www.henley-lestweforget.co.uk
Thomas was born in Henley on 2 July 1886, the son of Charles Coles, a farrier of Bell Street, Henley and his wife Caroline. He was baptised on 1 August 1886 at Holy Trinity Church. Thomas had three older brothers, William, Sydney and Edgar plus a younger sister Lydia. Their father died in February 1901 aged 46 by which time the family was living at 46 King’s Road, Henley.
When Thomas left school he trained as a farrier like his father, he also joined the Oxfordshire Yeomanry. On 16 November 1905 he enlisted in the Royal Horse Guards as Trooper 1195. In 1909 Thomas passed his course at the Army Veterinary School, Aldershot and he was appointed shoeing smith, then corporal shoeing smith on 10 June 1911.
Thomas married Ella Hatch on 16 September 1911 in London and they had two children Ernest in 1911 and Lydia in 1913.
Thomas was discharged from the army as “time served” on 6 April 1914 and put on the Army Reserve. He was recalled to the regiment on the outbreak of World War 1 and went to France with the B.E.F. on 6 October 1914. Thomas was severely wounded on 2 November 1914 and was evacuated home. He spent a great deal of time in hospital in London and eventually discharged from the Army on 23 May 1916 due to “paraplegia, suffering complete loss of power on both legs below the knees. All of this the Army accepted was due to the wounds received in 1914. They awarded him a pension of 27/- (£1.35p) and the family was moved to 5 Badgemore Lane Henley.
Thomas was admitted to the No.1 war hospital at Reading in February 1917 for special treatment, but this was not successful and he died on 19 May 1917 aged 31. The funeral was at Reading Cemetery on Wednesday 23 May. His coffin was covered with the Union Jack and was carried by members of his old regiment.
Thomas Coles is buried in the War Plot Division 71 & 72 and his name is recorded on the Screen Wall.