MM GV (22447 Pte T. Precious. 2/ W. York: R.);
Sudan (3164 Pte. T. Precious 5/ North/d Fus.);
QSA (6) Belmont, Modder River, Relief of Kimberly, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Transvaal (3164 Pte. T. Precious 5/North/d Fus.);
KSA (2) (3164 Pte. T. Precious 5/North/d Fus.);
1914-15 Star (22447 Pte. T. Precious. W. York: R.);
British War and Victory Medals (22447 Pte. T. Precious. W. York. R.);
Khedive's Sudan (1) Khartoum (3164 Pte. T. Precious 5/North/d Fus.);
Montenegro, Kingdom, Medal for Merit, silver
MM London Gazette 1 September 1916.
Silver Medal of Merit London Gazette 9 March 1917.
Tom Precious was born at Selby, Yorkshire in 1870 and served in the Selby Company of the 1st Volunteer Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. Enlisting with the Northumberland Fusiliers on 23 September 1891 and after training was posted to the 1st Battalion on 6 January 1892. Joining 2nd Battalion for their tour of duty he sailed for India on 17 December 1892, remaining there for two years until 4 March 1895 when the unit was posted to Singapore.
Re-joining 1st Battalion in Gibraltar on 1 January 1897 he sailed with them to Egypt where he was to see his Sudanese service before sailing to join the Cretan Intervention on 3 October 1898. At this stage Precious was able to return home arriving on 19 April 1899 but staying only until 15 September when he was again posted, this time to South Africa where he was soon to see heavy fighting. Here the Battalion was faced with a tough campaign, a fact underlined by Precious' own record which, as confirmed by the casualty roll, shows him captured twice in the campaign. The first time at Sanna's Post on 31 March 1900 and the Second at Elandslaagte on 25 February 1902, both actions which saw heavy losses amongst the Fusiliers. An entry in the O.M.R.S. Journal in autumn 1982 makes clear the brutal fighting which preceded his capture at Elandslaagte, stating:
'The details of the force were overwhelmed in succession despite determined resistance. The Northumberlands, many of them cut off in the rear, but living up to their proud nickname of the Fighting Fifth, fought their way through the enemy and had all but made good their escape when the ammunition failed. They then fixed bayonets and charged, but were overpowered.'
It should be noted that Precious' name is misspelled 'Pretous' on the roll for this engagement, however the number is correct, he joined his unit that same day. Returning home on 11 February 1903 Precious was soon discharged on 27 October 1903 having completed his service. However he re-joined as a Section D Reservist, remaining in that role for some time. It seems to be at this time that he either sold or lost his medals, replacing them with a freshly engraved set not long afterwards. His later medals were correct as issued. Precious clearly still felt a strong sense of duty when, with war declared, he volunteered for the Territorial Force on 3 September 1914 with the number 637. Transferring to the Regular Army again on 6 October 1915, he was posted to Falmouth before entering the war in France on 15 December 1915. His awarded of the Military Medal came on either 30 July 1916 when 'B' Company 2nd Battalion was launched an attack around Boyeau or 12 August of that same year when his Company was involved in repelling a German Trench raid. A note made in his obituary in the Selby Times, 21 September 1923, quotes the Battalion orders when the award was made, stating:
'When the enemy made a determined attack on his Platoon front and were repulsed with severe loss, Private Precious displayed great personal bravery, and regardless of danger to himself threw many bombs.'
Precious later served attached to 118th Railway Company, Royal Engineers before being sent to the 'Z' Class Reserve on 7 March 1919. Precious did not live long after the war, dying in 1923, he was buried in Selby Cemetery with full military honours