Thomas, Charles Richard


He was the only son of a soldier, Captain Charles Herbert Thomas (South Staffordshire Regiment), of Miltons, Dulverton, Somerset, and always had a military career in mind for himself. His mother was Dorothy Catherine Thomas, daughter of Philip Everard. He came to Winchester somewhat late, and in consequence spent only four years in the school before going up to read History at Trinity College, Oxford, where he took his MA. While at Winchester his varied interests included music, specially where it was connected with military matters and enjoyed playing the flute.

He received his commission in the Somerset Light Infantry (SLI) in 1934, serving with distinction both as a Captain and then, in 1939, as Adjutant of his battalion.  On June 15th 1940 he married Prunella (‘Prue’) Peel Bentley, the daughter of H.G. Bentley of Crossways, Burnham-on-Sea.  They had a son, Christopher.

In 1940 he was posted to 167 OCTU as an instructor, and in 1941 served on the staff at the War Office. By 1943 he was a Major, on the staff of Allied Headquarters in Algiers. But in 1944, with the invasion of Normandy imminent, he returned to regimental service as a company commander in 4th SLI, which was in 129 Brigade of 43rd (Wessex) Division.

Shortly after arriving in France, they found themselves at the notorious Hill 112, scene of some of the fiercest fighting that summer, where many units sent in to battle were cut to pieces.

On 6th August 43 Division was ordered to seize Mont Pincon, the highest piece of ground in Normandy.   The initial British attacks were clumsy and easily repulsed; the German defences were very strong with mines covered by dug-in machine guns and a few anti-tank guns.     During this action, Major Thomas was killed at La Roguerie, at the age of thirty-one and is buried in grave XVI.E.20 of the Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery.

 

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Thomas
  • Forenames or initials: Charles Richard
  • House: K
  • Years in School: 1927-1931
  • Rank: Major
  • Regiment: Somerset Light Infantry
  • Date of Birth: 15th June 1913
  • Date of Death: 6th August 1944
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner F2
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery: Grave XVI.E.29