Thomas Pike was born in Kingsteignton, Devon on the 15th Dec, 1873, and lived there with his widowed mother until he first went to sea in 1891. Thomas entered the Navy in 1889 at the age of 16 and in 1891 he received promotion to Ordinary Seaman. That same year he saw his first active service and was on board the HMS Cordelia between Fiji and Noumea when a disaster struck the ship during a gun firing exercise. Five sailors were killed and thirteen wounded, but Thomas Pike made it out alive.
For the next 8 years, Thomas worked on ships off Australia, South Africa and the UK, providing patrol in the waters off their coasts. He was serving on the HMS Doris when it was patrolling waters off South Africa at the outbreak of the Boer War. He acted as a qualified Diver and was promoted first to leading Seaman (March 1900) then Petty officer 2nd Class (October 1900) before being transferred in 1901 to the world’s first submarine depot ship, HMS Hazard.
In the spring of 1901 he married Agatha Bertha Mason in Newton Abbot and the couple had two children, Vincent and Muriel. He received the South African Medal and the Cape Colony Clasp in 1902, in recognition of his service during the Boer War and in 1907 he received the Long Service and the Good Conduct medals.
He would continue his life as a sailor until he retired to shore duties, after over 20 years in service, in 1913. However, like many others, Thomas Pike was brought back into service when war broke out, joining the Laurentic in November 1914.
For nearly two years he would serve on the Laurentic in the Far East and the Indian Ocean before joining the Atlantic fleet. Thomas was Chief Petty Officer on the Laurentic when it sank in 1917, a sad end to a lifetime of distinguished service at sea. His body was never recovered.
Western Times 6th February 1917