AS we bow our heads in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, one of Warrington RLFC’s greatest forwards lost his life serving his country in the Battle of the Somme.

There were 1.3 million killed or wounded over 141 days of horror, with hero Wire forward George Thomas falling on day three of one of the bloodiest battles in history.

He headed to France with 385 Warrington appearances, 47 tries, 199 goals and 539 points behind him, before having enlisted in 1914 with the South Lancashire Regiment.

Warrington Guardian:

Thomas, who was aged 35 when he died according to witness from a German shell blast in the early hours of July 3, 1916.

He left a wife and young family at their home at 12 Walton Road, Stockton Heath.


Former Warrington Guardian journalist Gary Slater revealed in his book ‘100 Warrington Rugby League Football Club Greats’ that three months earlier former Wire captain and secretary Harry Ashton received a letter from Thomas, a private on the Western Front.

Thomas wrote: “I have had some trying times on the football field and our side usually came out on top but as true but as true as there is a drop of British blood runs through my veins I hope to give the Germans a sound thrashing.

“But if I should fall you can tell the boys I fell fighting like a hero should do for his King and country. We have had a rough time of it and have been constantly harassed by the Germans. Many comrades fell and twice I had narrow escapes. I helped on one occasion to carry my sergeant to a place of safety and bandage him up.”

Thomas was made a colonel’s orderly days before his fatal night of action on the Somme.

The Welshman, who joined The Wire from Newport Rugby Union Club in 1903, appeared in four Challenge Cup Finals, collecting winners’ medals in 1905 and 1907.

For 91 years he held the club record for points in a match, with his five tries and nine goals contributing 33 points to a then club record 78-6 thumping of St Helens in 1909.

Thomas, who represented Wales in the first international rugby league match against the touring New Zealand All Golds on New Year’s Day, 1908, was highly regarded by teammates as a hard worker and fearless tackler.