REMEMBRANCE DISPATCH NO. 10 HAS BEEN POSTED IN HOUSES TO COMMEMORATE DAVID CUTHBERT THOMAS (HOSTEL 1906-1914) WHO WAS KILLED IN FRANCE ON 18TH MARCH 1916.
David Cuthbert Thomas was born in Llanedi, Carmarthenshire where his father was the vicar. David joined the Hostel (now Donaldson’s House) at the age of 11. He was a popular figure at school and was a keen sportsman, playing in the rugby football XV, the hockey XI and the cricket XI. He was a School Prefect and Editor of The Breconian, and had hopes of going to Oxford.
As well as playing for the main school teams, D C Thomas was also selected to play in an all-amateur Glamorgan side in July 1914. The game was played at Llanelli on what would have been his last day at school. Within a few weeks he enlisted and joined the ranks of the 4th Public Schools Battalion. He later gained a commission into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, where he became friends with the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves.
David Thomas and Sassoon arrived in France together in November 1915. On the night of 18th March 1916 David was hit in the throat by a sniper’s bullet while on a night working party in the Fricourt sector. It was expected that he would recover as long as he kept still. He raised his arm to take from his pocket a letter he wanted to send to a girl at home. The movement was fatal and he died a few hours later. Both Graves and Sassoon were deeply affected by his death and memorialised their friend ‘Tommy’ in their memoirs and poetry.
Second Lieutenant David Cuthbert Thomas is buried in the Military Cemetery Fricourt and remembered on the memorials at Llanedi and Pontardulais, as well as on the War Memorial at Christ College. To further mark the centenary of his death a recently discovered photograph of D C Thomas, taken at the St Helen’s ground in Swansea in 1914, has been released by the Christ College Archive.
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