Thomas, Howard Victor Fraser

Lieutenant / Royal Scots

1897 - 1918

Harold Victor Fraser Thomas was born in Inverness on 9 June 1897, the only son of Harry Dewdney Thomas, Headmaster of Cargilfield School, Cramond Bridge, Midlothian and of Mary Inglis Thomas.

He came to Winchester College from Mr J G Bradshaw's school at Packwood Haugh in January 1911 and was in I House, Turner's. He represented his house in Steeplechase and Soccer, and was a House Prefect and served as a Corporal in the OTC.

Harold left Winchester in the summer of 1915 and was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Scots, in September 1915. He went to the front in May 1916. He was wounded at the Battle of Arras the following year after receiving the M.C. for gallantry. He returned to the front in May 1918 and was attached to the 11th Battalion.

On the opening day of the final British offensive in late 1918 the 9th Scottish Division struck eastwards from Ypres and recaptured positions on the Passchendaele Ridge which the Germans had taken during their Spring offensive. In two days they had advanced some nine miles, a distance unthinkable earlier in the war. On 14 October 1918, the offensive was resumed, beginning the Battle of Courtrai. On 16 and 17 October attempts to cross the Lys were defeated by strong German resistance. Finally, on the night of 19/20 October three divisions, including 9th Division, succeeded in forcing a crossing. Thomas was killed whilst leading his company into action two days later, on 22 October, when 9th Division captured the village of Vichte, some 30 miles east of Ypres. He was killed outright, by a machine gun bullet in the head.

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