KEY, Thomas

Private Thomas Key
123015  Royal Army Medical Corps

We believe that Thomas Key was the son of Thomas Key, an engine man and his wife Selina of Westhouses. Thomas was born abt. 1893 in Nottingham and his parents seemed to have moved around a little, with several children also having been born in Mansfield. In 1911 Thomas’s occupation is given as coal miner ganger.

In 1916, Thomas married local girl Lilian Evelyn Bonsall, daughter of Samuel Bonsall at the Pye Hill Providence Chapel. Thomas is 23 and gives his occupation as ‘operator’. From the Kelly’s Directory of 1922 we know that Thomas was the manager of the Jacksdale Picture Palace so he must have been a cinema operator. Lilian or Lily was aged 23, a dressmaker.

In 1918 the Absent Voters Roll lists Thomas as absent from Dixie Street, serving with the Army Medical Corps. His Medal Rolls Index Card records that he was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, so obviously joined up in the latter part of the war. He was obviously an adaptable young man, turning his talents from coal mining, to cinematography through to the medical.

In 1920, Thomas and Lily had a daughter named Ada who was baptised at Pye Hill Providence Church, born 9th January of that year. It is possible that she died aged 3 in 1923.

In 1926, tragically Thomas also died aged only 33. One can only surmise that this may have been due to his military service.  His widow Lily/Lilian went on to marry bachelor Arthur Gee in 1931, at Pye Hill Providence Chapel, another survivor of the Great War, named on the Jacksdale War Memorial as having served and survived.