A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- People -
- Newchurch - Wallace George Thomas -


Steward LX/575597 Wallace George Thomas, Royal Navy


Biography from the Book of Remembrance, All Saints Church, Newchurch, Isle of Wight.
Biographical information

STEWARD WALLACE GEORGE THOMAS was born at Sandown [*] on 6th December 1903. He attended the Church of England School adjoining Christ Church in the Broadway at Sandown and it was at Christ Church he was married to Lilian Winifred White on 16th April 1927. They had three daughters and one son. The Thomas family moved to Newchurch in 1934 where they lived at Number 6 The Square.

Wally Thomas was a bricklayer by trade and worked for various building firms in the South Wight. On the formation of the Local Defence Volunteers in 1940 he was one of the first members of the Newchurch unit and when the Volunteers subsequently became the Home Guard he became a corporal in the Newchurch section of 'B' (Sandown) Company of the 20th Battalion Hampshire Home Guard. A contemporary in the Home Guard described Wally as a quiet man but the salt of the earth.

Although not liable to be conscripted into military service he felt strongly that it was his duty to take an active part in the service of his country and in May 1943 in the fortieth year of his age Wally joined the Royal Navy and in due course mustered as a steward.

Early in 1945 Wally Thomas was serving on the aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Indefatigable, which with the British Carrier Force in the Pacific was operating in support of the United States forces then mounting an attack on Okinawa, one of the group of islands stretching from the southern shores of Japan to Formosa and which attack developed into one of the fiercest battles of the Pacific war. On 1st April 1945 British carrier aircraft were continuing attacks on the airfieds of Ishigaki when the fleet was attacked by Japanese Kamikaze aircraft. At 0727 hours on that day, after carrying out a machine-gun attack on the battleship H.M.S. King George V, a Japanese Zero aircraft struck 'Indefatigable' abreast the forward barrier at the junction of the flight deck and the island. A terrific explosion from the Zero's 500 lb bomb shattered the flight deck sick-bay, the briefing room and both flight deck barriers. Eight men, including Steward Wallace George Thomas, lost their lives and sixteen of their comrades were wounded. This was the only attack on 'Indefatigable' that day.

[*] Actually born in Wimbledon, Surrey.

From the CWGC record :

Son of George William and Laura Thomas (née Snelgrove); husband of Lilian Winifred Thomas (née White), of Lake, Isle of Wight.

Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.

CWGC record ...


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