Thomas Antrobus

Thomas Antrobus was born 9th January 1886 in Runcorn registration district and baptised on 28th February that year at St Peter’s, Aston. His baptism details said that he was born in 1884, but this does not agree with other sources. He was the son of Isaac Antrobus (born Keckwick) and his wife Elizabeth (nee Vernon) who was born at Five Crosses, near Frodsham.

The 1891 census recorded that the family were living on Northwich Road in Sutton Weaver. The father was a railway signalman. There were six children living with their parents, two older girls called Annie and Rachel having already left home for work. Five-year-old Thomas had three other sisters and two brothers: Mary Elizabeth (11), William (9), Alice (7), Fred (3) and Emily (1). The family would eventually grow to a total of 12 children by 1897.

Ten years later the family address was given as Tunnel Top, Sutton, which may be the same house as in 1891. Isaac was still employed as a railway signalman. William and Mary Elizabeth were working elsewhere and the remaining children had three more brothers and a sister: James (9), Ellen (8), Benjamin (5) and Arthur (3). 15-year-old Thomas was working as a gentleman’s page boy, but it is not known for whom.

Thomas moved to work in London as a butler and on 25th January 1909 married Catherine Young, who was also living and working in London. She was four years older than Thomas and was from Northumberland. They were married at St John’s, Stratford, West Ham. They had a daughter, Elizabeth Mary later in 1909.

By 1911 Thomas was working as a butler to William Eden Stobart who was a retired army major residing at 51, South Street, Park Lane in London. However Catherine was not living in London: she was living with her daughter at the home of Isaac and Elizabeth Antrobus who had moved to Boundary Farm, Aston, Preston Brook where Isaac was now a farmer. William and Benjamin were working on the farm, Ellen did dairy work, Emily helped in the house, James was an apprentice moulder and Arthur was about to leave school. James and Arthur would also enlist in the Great War.

Catherine had three more children in the next ten years: Ranulph Leonard in 1913, Katherine Gladys in 1916 and Arthur James in 1921.

When Thomas enlisted in November 1916, he gave his year of birth as 1884. He had formerly been in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve with a service number Y22741. He was transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service and given another service number 223335. He was 32 years old, 5’6’’ tall with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. He was a butler and this may have been the reason why he became an Officers’ Steward on President 11(Two) at Crystal Palace in London and then at Felixstowe until March 1918. President 11(Two) was an accounting base for sailors between ships and was a training base. (All Royal Navy personnel had to belong to a commissioned warship to be subject to naval discipline).

On 1st April 1918, the Royal Air Force was formed and Thomas transferred to it and became a Private. His trade classification was as a batman. He transferred to the R.A.F. Reserve in March 1919 and was demobilized at the end of April 1920.

The 1939 register showed that Thomas and Catherine were living at 20, High Street in Wellington in Somerset. Thomas was a laundry business proprietor, Randulph was a van driver in the business and Katherine was the laundry manageress. Elizabeth Mary was married and Arthur James was not living at home.

Catherine died in 1964 in Somerset, aged 82 years.

Thomas died on 19th April 1967 in Somerset, having retired from the laundry business. He was 81 years of age.