Edward Thomas (British Army soldier)

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For other people named Edward Thomas, see Edward Thomas (disambiguation).

Corporal Edward Thomas, MM, of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards fired the first shot of the British Army in World War I, at 7am on 22 August 1914, in an engagement outside Mons.[1]

He enlisted as a drummer in the Royal Horse Artillery, but transferred to the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards before the outbreak of hostilities. He was promoted to Sergeant on 5 November 1915 and transferred to the Machine Gun Corps in 1916. He returned to the Royal Irish Dragoons at the end of hostilities and was finally discharged in 1923.

Thomas was also Mentioned in Despatches for bravery. Whilst positioned in a slit trench he advanced on his opposite number after British shelling of the enemy lines, to find all the German soldiers killed. Noting the quality of the German boots, he removed them from several soldiers, tied them together and crawled back to his own lines, where he distributed them amongst his friends. After the war, he became the Commissionnaire at the Duke of Yorks Cinema, dying of pneumonia some years later.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The First Shot: 22 August 1914—Opening salvos". World Wars in depth—World War One. BBC. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2010.