Joseph Benjamin Thomas

Served with Essex County Constabulary and died on December 28, 1914.

Special Corporal Joseph Thomas was the Curate of Radwinter, a small village about four miles from Saffron Walden. Around 10.50pm on the very stormy evening of 28th December 1914 Joseph Thomas left Police Constable Crickmore, the village constable of Radwinter, to go on patrol and meet Mr. L Drysdale, the Special Constable of Hempstead. When he failed to arrive and subsequently did not turn up at home the next morning the alarm was raised. Superintendent Boyce of Saffron Walden was informed of the circumstances.

Accompanied by Police Sergeant A.G. Neckolde and with the assistance of the local police, a search was made, with the result that Joseph Thomas' body was found drowned in three feet of water in a brook near Sellands Farm, Radwinter. His inquest, held on 31st December 1914, concluded that Joseph Thomas had probably slipped whilst crossing a bridge over the swollen brook and that he was carried away by the flood.

He left a widow and daughter of about seven years. Joseph Thomas was buried in a grave in the southern part of Radwinter Churchyard. The headstone contains the following inscription - 'Joseph Benjamin Thomas, who gave his life for his country December 28 1914, aged 44 years, priest'.

On the 3rd March 1915 the Essex Joint Standing Committee recommended that a pension of £15 a year be granted to the widow, and £2 10s for their child, the Chairman explaining that these were the highest amounts they could legally give.