Thomas – better known as Tom – Singer was born in Frome, Somerset, in the summer of 1876, the youngest of seven children to John and Sophia Singer. John was a labourer on the railway, who sadly passed away when Tom was only three years old. Sophia was left to raise the family on her own, and she did so by taking in washing for other people (the 1891 census has her listed as a pauper, but she still managed to support her children). Sophia also died in 1892, meaning Tom was an orphan by the time he was just 16 years old.
Tom found work as an errand boy when he left school, although he soon moved on to labouring work. After Sophia’s death, he moved in with his brother Walter, who had also recently been widowed, and the money they brought in helped support Walter’s three children and pay for a housekeeper to do so.
On 21st July 1904, Tom married Edith Mary Bugler, a labourer’s daughter from nearby Selwood; the couple went on to have five children. With a growing family to support, Tom found new work as an ostler at the pub in Witham Friary, to the south of Frome.
Was was coming to Europe, and Tom was called upon to do his duty. Full details of his service are not available, sadly, but it is clear that he enlisted as a Private in the Somerset Light Infantry at some point before the summer of 1916.
Private Singer was sent to France in November 1916, but fell ill soon afterwards. He was medically evacuated back to England and admitted to hospital, where he underwent an operation. Sadly, he did not recover, and passed away on 14th February 1917, at the age of 40 years old.
Tom Singer was laid to rest in the graveyard of Christ Church in his home town of Frome.