Mr William Thomas was born in Belfast, Ireland on 9 January 1861, the son of an English father and an Irish mother.
Working as a seaman, during a trip to either the USA or Canada around 1883, William was married to Mary Jane Robbs (b. circa 1861), a Canadian woman of Irish parentage. The couple returned to Ireland and in Belfast in September 1884 their daughter Mary Ann was born.
In October 1887 William emigrated to the United States, residing in Boston, Massachusetts and becoming a naturalised US citizen in 1897. Joined by his wife and daughter, the family would grow as more children followed: William (b. 1891), Caroline (b. 1893), James (b. 1895) and John (b. 1898).
By 1900 William and his family were residing at 136 Pleasant Street in Boston and he was described as a night watchman. In 1903 he returned to Ireland where he began working aboard British ships.
Thomas’ ship prior to Titanic had been the Helen Craig. He joined Titanic at Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton where he then disembarked.
With the outbreak of war Thomas remained in the UK and continued to serve on ships in the British merchant fleet, both on the Atlantic run and on trips to various ports on the European continent. Discharged from service in September 1919 William temporarily settled in Dublin where he was required to explain in an affidavit his protracted absence from the USA and his desire to join his children there, his wife apparently having passed away by that time.
What eventually became of William Thomas remains unclear.