Thomas Sidney Wathes, born on 2nd November 1887, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1902. He lived with his father, Charles, a dairyman, his mother, Caroline, and four siblings at 204, Bristol Road, Edgbaston. Thomas served alongside his brother, Charles, also an Old Edwardian, in the 6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Captain Charles Wathes survived the war.
As a pupil of the Classical School, Thomas studied a classical, rather than scientific, curriculum. In his final year, he was a classmate of HG Bache in the Fourth Class, where he placed in the top five academically of a class of seventeen boys. He was also an able mathematician, winning proxime (second place) for his set in July 1904, and played Eton Fives at School. In the same year, Thomas’s father died (suicide) which may explain his premature departure from KES. He completed his secondary education at Carlisle School before reading Modern History at Wadham College, Oxford.
After graduating in 1909, Thomas returned to the family home, now in Kings Norton, and became a dairyman’s assistant. He married Doris Collins on 4th June 1913. In November 1914, Thomas obtained his commission as a Second Lieutenant with the 6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Territorial Force. He rapidly rose through the ranks, being promoted to a career-high of Captain in 1916. Thomas was killed, aged twenty-eight, while leading his men close to the enemy trenches on 19th July 1916. He left his estate of £140 to both his brother, Arthur, and his wife’s brother, Sidney Collins. After Thomas’ death, Sidney appealed to the War Office on behalf of his sister, asking for Thomas’ pay.