Llanedi Rectory, Pontarddulais, Glamorgan
New Military Cemetery Fricourt, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France
David Cuthbert Thomas (1895 – March 18, 1916) was a Welsh soldier of the First World War, best known for his association with the poet Siegfried Sassoon, who after his death became the subject of some of the greatest war poems by Sassoon and Robert Graves. Sassoon had a fine war record of great bravery and was awarded the Military Cross, but in 1916, partly because of the devastating death of his friend David Thomas, his stance changed and he began to oppose the war. Sassoon was one diarist who made reference to the sexual activity of other men on the front line, and expressed his attraction to soldiers he came across by chance - he was particularly taken with David Thomas and a teenage lad named Gibson, both of whom died in action. David Thomas is commemorated in various of Sassoon's poems such as A Letter Home: I've seen Soldier David dressed in green, Standing in a wood that swings To the madrigal he sings. He's come back, all mirth and glory, Like the prince in fairy story.
Thomas was the son of Evan and Ethelinda Thomas of Llanedi Rectory, Pontarddulais, Glamorgan, and was educated at Christ College, Brecon. His first commission was as a Second Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. That regiment also included the writers Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon, with whom he became close friends. After training, Thomas was posted to the regiment's 1st Battalion, which was then attached to 22 Brigade, itself part of 7th Infantry Division. On 18 March 1916 Thomas was leading a working party to repair wire emplacements in no man's land at the Citadel, near Fricourt in France when he was shot in the throat. He then walked to a first aid post for treatment but died soon afterwards after he began choking. He is buried at New Military Cemetery at Fricourt (reference D3 in Point 110). Graves wrote the poem 'Not Dead' in Thomas's memory and Thomas also appears in Graves' autobiography Good-Bye to All That, Sassoon's 'Sherston trilogy' of fictionalised autobiographies (as "Dick Tiltwood") and several other poems by both men.
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