Image of Jesus College war memorial

Owen Vincent Thomas, 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Captain, Royal Air Force

Owen Vincent Thomas came up to Cambridge in 1912 after spending his school years at the United Services College in Windsor.

Born in Hove, Brighton: 2 April 1894

Died of injuries received in a flying accident: 29 July 1918

O.V. ThomasThe obituary for Thomas in the Jesus College Cambridge Society Annual Report 1919 says that he passed Part I of the Economics Tripos in 1914.  In 1914 the Economics Tripos was the newest tripos to be examined at Cambridge. (The Anthropological Tripos was established by Grace in May 1913 but was not examined until after the war.) The Economics Tripos was founded in 1905 and Thomas was part of a very select group of Jesuans to pass any part of the Economics Tripos, there were nine in total. 

Thomas went on to get his BA on 16 July 1915 by virtue of his military service, although he was not present at the congregation.

He received a commission to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at the start of the war but later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (later combined with the R.N.A.S. to form the Royal Air Force) where he became a Flight Commander and Captain. His war record is not recorded in the College Archives but his obituary records that he was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s despatches on 7 April 1918.  He died just a few months later when his plane caught fire over Epping Forest while attempting a landing at North Weald airfield. (Annual Report, 1919, p. 33)

​A memorial tablet in Skenfrith Church reads: "A good pilot, a gallant officer, a most delightful companion and a popular and unassuming gentleman. This small tribute is erected by one of his comrades of the Battle of the Somme of 1916"

More information about Owen, including the image featured on this page may be found here

You can email us on ww1-project@jesus.cam.ac.uk, go to our First World War homepage, or find us on Lives of the First World War.

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