Yorkshire Chess History



Sir George Alan Thomas











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



14/06/1881, Istanbul, Turkey




23/07/1972, London


01/08/1972, West London Crematorium


Thomas Baronetcy of Yapton


Coat of Arms

Motto: “Honesty is the Best Policy”


George Alan Thomas was not knighted in a New-Year or Birthday Honours list, but inherited his title.  The baronetcy was create on 06/09/1766, when an earlier George Thomas, who had been Governor of Pennsylvania for nine years before being Governor of the Leeward Islands from 1753 to 1766, was appointed to a new baronetcy.  George Alan Thomas succeeded to the title on the death of his father in 1918.  Since George Alan Thomas, the 7th Baronet, died without issue, the Baronetcy died with him.



Non-Chess Life


The parents of George Alan Thompson were Sir George Sidney Meade Thomas, 6th Baronet, (born 12/02/47, Weymouth, Dorset; died 09/03/1918, Wanstead; buried Winterbourne, Dorset), and Edith Margaret Thomas (née Foster, 1846, Hanover, Germany, daughter of Morgan Hugh Foster C.B.; died 29/02/1920, Hampstead), who had four children, all born in Istanbul:


Isabel Edith Thomasin Thomas

(married surname: Chichester)

born 1875

Ruby Grace Thomas

(married surname: Hawkins)

born 1877

first son

died in infancy

George Alan Thomas

born 14/06/1881


The reason why the children were born into a family living in Istanbul is that maternal grandfather Morgan Hugh Foster was a civil servant in the Foreign Office, and was stationed in Istanbul from about 1861, for 18 years.  The mother being born in Hanover reflects an earlier posting of Morgan Hugh Foster to Hanover.  The George and Edith clearly started their married life in the bride’s country of residence.  Thus George Alan Thomas, destined to become 7th Baronet, was born as the grandson of a British Foreign Office civil servant in the British Consulate at Istanbul.


George senior and his family had moved back to England by 1891, probably doing so not long after the birth of George junior.


The 1891 census found father George, mother Edith, the three surviving children, and two servants, living at 3 Southwick Street, Paddington.  Father George was of independent means.


The 1901 census found mother Edith (named merely “Lady Thomas”), the three children, and three servants, living at 27 South Parade, Portsmouth.  Father George was away from home at the time.


The 1911 census found mother Edith, son George and one servant, living at 42 Fitz George Avenue, Fulham, London.  Again, father George was not listed.


Sir George Sidney Meade Thomas, 6th Baronet, died in 1918, and George Alan Thomas became the 7th Baronet, acquiring the title “Sir”.


Our man never married, and seemed to move about.  In 1926, he lived at 45 Stanley Gardens, London NW3.  In the late 1920s he was recorded as hailing from Godalming.  In 1930, he lived at 2 Prince of Wales Terrace, London, W8.  In 1939, he lived at 73 North End House, Barons Court, Hammersmith and Fulham per the 1939 Register, though “17 North End House, London W14” was given by a shipping log which seems like a curtailment of something misheard.  (The 1939 census described him as a “journeyman” which is difficult to understand of one living on “private means”.)


Sir George Alan Thomas indulged in physical sports, being perhaps most visible to the general public as a badminton player, winning the English men’s singles title 4 times, the men’s doubles 9 times, and the mixed doubles 8 times.  He also played tennis, playing at Wimbledon each year from 1919 to 1926, reaching the last 16 in 1922.  He was even known to play hockey for Hampshire in his youth.  As he got older, he became involved in organisational work in the world of badminton.


Though he didn’t formally “earn” his title as “Sir”, he was regarded with a degree of respect which in a way earned him the title he’d inherited.




Sir George Alan Thomas died in a London nursing home on 23/07/1972.




He reportedly learnt chess at the age of 4, from his mother, who later won the Ladies’ Tournament at the 1895 Hastings Congress.


He won the British Championship in 1923, and again in 1934.


His record in various international tournaments and representing England in Olympiads is well documented.


He played in five tournaments in Yorkshire, namely the top sections of the Scarborough Whit Congresses of 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929, and in the 1930 BCF Congress, also held in Scarborough.  He didn’t win any of them.


When the system of international titles (IGM and IM) were first invented, in 1950, Sir George Thomas was one of those immediately awarded an International Master title on the basis of past performance.  He was made an International Arbiter in 1952.





Copyright © 2015, 2024 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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