I did not know Thomas personally but have got to know him from the
emails I have received from his grandson Ian Foster.
Ian contacted the Association as his family had some mementoes and artefacts
that his mother wished to donate to the Museum.
As you will see in the photo of Thomas he was a MAA and very smartly dressed
in his number ones, frock coat, swords and medal, makes me a bit envious that
I did not have the chance to wear a frocked coat.
From his service records Thomas was born in Houghton in Lancs in 1889 and joined
the Andrew in January 1898 as a Boy 2nd class joining his first ship the Northampton
in February 1898, in May 1911 whilst serving on board HMS Edgar a cruiser of
the Edgar class
Thomas was rated Ships Corporal and his time in our branch then started. Serving
on various ships and establishments until August 1914 he joined a newly build
dreadnought HMS Agincourt the ship it’s self has its own history having
been ordered by the Brazilian Government in 1911 and being built on the Tyne
just as she was due to be launched in 1913 the Government decided to sell the
ship to the Ottoman Empire, another turn of fate touched the Agincourt the first
world war was declared and the Government seized the ship for the Royal Navy
in August 1914, it is thought that this action was due to concerns of the Ottoman
Empire German alliance. She was the most well armed Dreadnought with 14 heavy
So there we have Thomas joining Agincourt just after she had been taken into
the RN as a Ships Corporal, and taking part in the Battle of Jutland. In August
1917 Thomas’s B13 arrived and he was promoted Master at Arms, he continued
serving on the Agincourt until March of 1919, when the ship was laid up in Rosyth.
After about a year in Victory Thomas joined HMS Maidstone as her Master at Arms
in January 1920, until October 1920 when he returned to Victory until November
1920 when he joined HMS Monarch until January 1921, he then joined RNB for release
to pension on the 23rd January 1921.
I thank Tom and his mother for sharing this information with us which helps to
foster a personal history of the people and their lives in the Regulating Branch.