The Portsmouth man from the Co-op

Thomas Hobbs in India in 1918.
Thomas Hobbs in India in 1918.
First World War veteran Frank West, 93, takes the salute at Bishop's Waltham

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These kinds of pictures always amaze me – an Englishman plucked from the back streets and plonked in the farthest reaches of the British Empire. Here we have Thomas Hobbs (second left, back row in the pith helmet) when he was in India with the Hampshire Regiment in 1918.

He was at that time attached to the 2nd/129th Duke of Connaught’s Own Baluchi Regiment, an Indian Army regiment that recruited mainly from the north-west of India. They were employed in Karachi on security duties. The regiment is now part of the Pakistan Army.

Thomas lived at Milton, Portsmouth, and spent his working life, apart from his war service, with the PIMCO (Co-op), starting aged 14 as an errand boy.

The picture comes from his son Roger.