James Maddock Thomas was born on 6 February 1897 in Atcham, Shropshire. His parents were Edward and Jane Elizabeth. Edward was the station master at Little Stretton Station, near Church Stretton. James had a brother, Oswald Philip, b 1896 and two sisters, Margaret Jean b1905 and Florence Elizabeth b1908.
By 1911, the family had moved to Moore, where Edward was the station master of Daresbury station and James was a grocer’s errand boy.
James enlisted into the railway operating division of the Royal Engineers in January 1916, service numbers 210372 and WR261759. This division operated railways in many theatres of war, working with both standard and narrow gauge. James served most of his time in France, holding a mainly administrative role.
His brother, Oswald, also served in the war.
James returned home and married Janet Goldsmith in 1928. The 1939 register records the couple living at 54 Nicander Road in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, where James was a railway controller. They had one daughter, Janet, born in 1929.
James died in 1944, aged just 47 years.