Thomas William Armes


About Thomas William

  • Name
    Thomas William
  • Initials
    T W
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
  • Birth town
    St Ives, Huntingdonshire
  • Resided town
    Chelsea and Sheringham
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation
    Artist and Teacher

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Norfolk Regiment



Thomas William Armes was born in born in St Ives, Huntingdonshire in 1894.  He was one of seven children born to Herbert William, a butcher, and Rosetta (nee Norman), although on Thomas’ marriage certificate his father is listed as a farmer. His father died in 1907 and in 1911, Thomas, aged 17, is listed as a house painter, and living at The New Crown, St Ives with his mother, who is listed as a publican and siblings Walter (22), a butcher, Reginald (15), a blacksmith’s stocker, Herbert (12), Edmund (9) and Rosetta (5), all at school.

Thomas studied at Cambridge School of Art, and in 1913 was awarded a scholarship to study in The Hague.  When Thomas attested in Norwich on 17 November 1915, his address was Brandiston Rectory, Alderford, Norwich.  Despite his mother still being alive, his record reveals a reference to Reverend G Jordan, as his guardian which explains the address.  He was posted to the 4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

On his service record there is a letter dated 29 November 1915  from the Secretary of the Norfolk T.A. Association to the Officer Commanding the 28th Battalion of the London Regiment (Artists Rifles) stating that the Rev. G Jordan had requested that Thomas be granted an interview for acceptance into an Officer Training Corps.  The Secretary went on to state that the Norfolk Regiment would do their best to find a position for him if Officer Training was successful.  Within weeks he transferred to the Artists Rifles for Officer Training.

When Thomas passed through Peterborough East Station on 14 October 1916, he was serving with the Officer Cadet Unit of the Artists Rifles.  He sketched a comrade serving with the Royal Flying Corps with the motto “Latin: “Per ardua ad astra”, English: Through difficulties to the stars”.  He may have sketched F S Firth who was serving with the Royal Flying Corps and who had signed immediately before him in the visitors’ book.

He served at the front in France returning to the UK aboard the Princess Elizabeth on 21 May 1917, due to a problem with his knee.  Early in 1918, he developed diptheria whilst at Crowborough, Sussex, and passed out on a trip through London, waking up at 1st London Central Hospital.  The London Gazette reported that “2nd Lt T W Armes relinquishes his commission on account of ill health, and is granted the honorary rank of 2nd Lt on 9 April 1918”.  Thomas was awarded the British War and Allied Victory medals.

On 18 September 1920, Thomas married Ivy Forty at Camberwell, London, they were living at 53 Talfourd Road. During the 1920s, Thomas was a successful artist living in Chelsea.  He taught private pupils and showcased his work on a number of occasions, including at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists.  In 1939, Thomas and Ivy were living in Banstead, Surrey and Thomas was listed as a landscape painter.  During World War Two, Thomas served in the Home Guard.  To learn more about Thomas please visit

Thomas married for a second time in 1940 to Myra Antoinette Giddings at Paddington and they settled in Sheringham, Norfolk.  He had three solo shows at Norwich Assembly House, in 1953, 1958 and 1960.  Following his death in June 1963, his widow opened the Little Gallery where she showed his work in 1975.

Thomas and Myra had one son, Marcus, born in Sheringham in 1955.  He has been traced and kindly provided us with the self portrait included in the gallery.

Thomas’s brother, Herbert Alfred served with the 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment and was killed in action near Bucquoy on the Somme on 8 April 1918, aged 19.  He is buried in Gommecourt British Cemetery No. 2, Hebuterne, Pas de Calais. Plot IV. Row K. Grave 4.



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