b. 06/05/1898 Ilkley, Yorkshire. d. 28/03/1942 Ilkley, Yorkshire.
Thomas Harold Broadbent Maufe (1898-1942) was born at Warlbeck, King’s Road, Ilkley, Yorkshire on 6th May 1898. He was known in the family by the nickname “Squash”. His father, Frederic Broadbent Muff, a master linen draper, and was later Chairman of Bradford’s leading department store, Brown Muff & Co Ltd, known locally as the Harrods of the North. He married Helen Mann nee Statham in 1885 in Islington, London. On 30th July 1909, he changed the family surname by deed poll to Maufe. Frederic and Helen had five children in all, though sadly the older brother Statham was killed in action during the Great War at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.
Thomas was educated at Ghyll Road School, Greystone Manor, Burley-in-Wharfedale from 1907-1912 and then at Uppingham School, Rutland until 1915, where he was in Deyne House. He then trained with the Royal Military Academy Woolwich and was commissioned on 10th May 1916, and travelled to France on 20th July 1916, just seventeen days after his brother’s death.
On 4th June 1917 at Feuchy, France, Second Lieutenant Maufe, on his own initiative and under intense artillery fire repaired, unaided, the telephone wire between the forward and rear positions, thereby enabling his battery to open fire on the enemy. He also saved what could have been a disastrous occurrence by extinguishing a fire in an advanced ammunition dump caused by a heavy explosion, regardless of the risk he ran from the effects of gas shells in the dump.
The VC was presented by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 29th August 1917. He was presented with a silver casket by the town of Ilkley in recognition of his bravery. He was appointed Acting Captain from 3rd July 1917 – 3rd March 1919, Acting Major 4th March 1919, reverting to Acting Captain from April-June 1919. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 10th November 1917 and Captain on 25th June 1919. He transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers on 25th June 1919 and resigned his commission on 31st July 1935.
After the war he studied civil engineering at Clare College, Cambridge (BA & MA) from 1919-1922 and trained at the Royal School of Mines in Kensington. Thereafter he worked in tin smelting at Gravesend and tin mining in Cornwall. Later he was a director of Brown Muff & Co Ltd of Bradford. He married Mary Gwendolen Carr on 4th June 1932 at St Margaret’s Church, Ilkley, on the 15th anniversary of his VC action. Gwen as she was known, was a noted tennis player. They had two children – Adrianne Helen Maufe (born in 1935) and Anthony Peter B Maufe (born in 1941).
Around 1936, Thomas was diagnosed with diabetes. At the outbreak of World War II, he wanted to rejoin, but was refused on account of his medical condition. He served as a Private in the Ilkley Company, 29th West Riding (Otley) Battalion Home Guard instead. On 28th March 1942, he was killed during a training exercise at Manor Farm, Blubberhouses Moor, near Ilkley when a mortar bomb exploded in the tube. Private Henry Galloway was also killed and Private John Ford seriously injured. Thomas was buried in Ilkley Cemetery.
In addition to the VC, he was awarded the British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 and George VI Coronation Medal 1937. The VC is held still in the Maufe family.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: IIKLEY CEMETERY, ILKLEY, WEST YORKSHIRE. ROW A, GRAVE 768.
Brian Drummond – VC Stone and accompanying programme at Ilkley War Memorial, Yorkshire.
Peter Maufe – Image of the reverse of Thomas Maufe’s VC Medal.