Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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THOMAS , Sir ROBERT JOHN ( 1873 - 1951 ), politician and shipowner ;

b. 23 Apr. 1873 , the son of William and Catherine Thomas , Bootle . He was educated at Bootle College , Liverpool Institute and Tettenhall College . He began working as a ship and insurance broker in the family business at Liverpool , and later became an underwriter at Lloyds . Thomas served as M.P. (Coalition Lib.) for the Wrexham division , 1918-22 , stood unsuccessfully in Anglesey in 1922 before winning the seat at a by-election in Apr. 1923 held following the death of Sir Owen Thomas ( DWB , 1150) . He continued to represent Anglesey in Parliament until May 1929 when he resigned in order to be able to give more attention to his commercial interests. His successor in the constituency was Lady Megan Lloyd George (see LLOYD GEORGE FAMILY above). He was declared bankrupt in 1930 and was not discharged until 1935 . Thomas was a member of the Anglesey County Council and served as High Sheriff for the county in 1912 . He was the founder of the Welsh Heroes Memorial Fund to which he donated £20,000, and for many years he served as its honorary secretary . He also founded and equipped at Holyhead the Lady Thomas Convalescent Home for Discharged and Disabled Soldiers and Sailors . He was a native Welsh -speaker, a member of the Council of the University College of North Wales , Bangor , and for 15 yrs was the honorary treasurer of the Anglesey Eisteddfod Association . He was knighted in 1918 .

Thomas m. in 1905 Marie Rose , dau. of Arthur Burrows . She d. in 1948 . They had two sons and a daughter. His heir was Sir William Eustace Rhyddland Thomas ( 1909 - 1957 ). He d. 27 Sept. 1951 at his home Garreg-lwyd , Holyhead , Anglesey .


  • Who was who? ;
  • Who's who in Wales ( 1921 );
  • The Times , 28 Sept. 1951 ;
  • Dod's Parliamentary Companion ;
  • The Biographical Index of W. W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library) .


Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001