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Posted: 10.08.18

Christ College Remembers … Lieutenant Theodore Gauntlett Thomas


Theodore Gauntlett Thomas, the son of the Reverend David and Una Gauntlett, was born in Pembrokeshire. Known as ‘Theo’, he was a scholar rather than a sportsman, receiving a variety of academic prizes from his first term at Christ College and gaining the Morgan scholarship for his senior studies in 1899.

After a ‘happy and successful school career’, he achieved a place at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. He enjoyed rowing for his College and joined the University Office Training Corp. Entering the teaching profession from Oxford, he was appointed to the staff at the University College, Jamaica. In 1910, he became a member of staff at the University School, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Theo was noted as being a conscientious teacher, and a master of the shooting-range. Whilst there he also held a commission for the 50th Gordon Highlanders (Canada).

In November 1914 he enlisted and was commissioned into the 47th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment). He landed in England in March 1915 and was a musketry instructor at Shorncliffe. He married at Folkestone in September 1915 and was sent to France in September 1917, where his battalion was engaged at Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres (July to November 1917). He wrote to his old school in Canada about the terrible slaughter and appalling conditions of the battle. In the early months of 1918 he was Mentioned in Despatches.

An advance on the line in August 1918 unexpectedly turned into trench warfare and the Battalion was forced to secure and hold the Menelars Trench for several days. On 12th August 1918 Theo and three other ranks were killed in heavy artillery fire.

The Breconian notes that “enthusiasm and loyal affection for his old school was characteristic of this keen Breconian”. His Colonel, writing to Theo’s widow, refers to the loyal affection he engendered among his men: “. . . his Captain writes of him that his men would have followed him anywhere”.

Lieutenant Theodore Gauntlett Thomas MiD is buried at Rosieres Communal Cemetery Extension, France. He is also remembered on the Christ College War Memorial.

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