Thomas William Oatway was born in 1879 to Thomas and Annie Oatway. He had two sisters, Annie and Harriet, and a brother, James. The family lived at Tylney Road Cottages, George Lane, Wanstead, in 1881. By 1891, twelve year old Thomas had left school and was working as a servant for Mr. and Mrs. Bowler of Grove Road, Wanstead.
The 1901 census records Thomas as being a Lance Corporal with the Coldstream Guards. Within ten years, he had progressed to Colour Sergeant. Thomas married in 1904. In 1911, he was again living in army barracks with his regiment.
By the time the war broke out in 1914, Thomas was a Drill Sergeant. He was sent to France with the Coldstream Guards but was killed in action on the 14th September 1914. His name appears on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France.
Research by Redbridge Museum
Commonwealth War Graves Commission