Thomas, Howard Victor Fraser

Lieutenant / Royal Scots

1897 - 1918

Born in Inverness, he was the only son of Harry Dewdney Thomas, Headmaster of Cargilfield School, Cramond Bridge, Midlothian and of Mary Inglis Thomas. He came to Winchester from Mr J G Bradshaw's school at Packwood Haugh. He represented Sunnyside, as it was then known, in Steeplechase and in Hawkins Cup, was a House Prefect and served as a Corporal in the OTC.

He was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Scots, in September 1915, and 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 14th October the offensive was resumed, beginning the Battle of Courtrai. On 16th and 17th October attempts to cross the Lys were defeated by strong German resistance. Finally, on the night of 19th/20th October three divisions, including 9th Division, succeeded in forcing a crossing. Thomas was killed whilst leading his company into action two days later, on 22nd 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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