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It is quite possible that Thomas Porter was playing junior football when the First World War broke out in 1914. In that same year, Thomas, who was born in St. Helens in 1897 and living at Islands Brow, enlisted in the Royal Engineers. Indeed, Sapper 6635 1/1st West Lancs Field company went over to France to endure the full horrors of the conflict. He was subsequently a member of 426278 419 Field company, attached to the 4th division and later 55th Division and was involved in all the major battles of the war. Thomas was wounded at Cambrai by shrapnel on 29th November 1917 and returned to action early in the New Year. He was demobbed in February 1919.
His rugby career was mostly centred around the Saints A team, but he did make five appearances for the seniors overall and scored two tries. He was a forceful loose forward in a team that was desperately trying to assert itself as a powerful force in the Northern Union, with several Welsh rugby union imports, such as George and Stan Lewis. Thomas made his debut at home to Warrington on 8th April 1922 in a 5-5 draw with local rivals Warrington. The back three that day was Cawley, Jones and Porter. His last match in the First Team was against Keighley on 25th January 1923, when the Saints beat Keighley 14-7, with Thomas scoring one of the tries. His back row colleagues that afternoon were Clarey, Heath and Porter, all local lads.
He married a girl called Vera Everett in 1927 at Brightlingsea, Essex. They returned to St. Helens and opened a shoe repair shop in Islands Brow. One wonders if he specialised in Rugby boots? Thomas passed away in December1962, aged 65, and Vera returned to Brightlingsea.
We can hardly imagine the horrors of the First World War and the effect it had at the time. Thomas is another Saints player who served his country with gallantry and remains forever in our debt.
The SHS is grateful to Eddie Porter for providing us with some interesting background material for this player.
|Season (Official Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|Season (Other Matches)||Tries||Goals||DGoals||Matches|
|8th Apr 1922||
|26th Aug 1922||
|30th Dec 1922||
|20th Jan 1923||
|25th Jan 1923||
|*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.|
|WINS : 1 | LOSSES : 3 | DRAWS : 1|
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