Lieutenant Thomas Ainsworth was commissioned into the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Territorial Force on April 12, 1915. On October 8, 1915 he boarded His Majesty’s Transport Ship Demosthenes along with two other Officers and 134 other ranks bound for Gallipoli. They arrived at Mudros on October 20th and joined the Battalion at Cape Helles on October 22, 1915.
He survived Gallipoli unscathed and sailed with the Battalion to Egypt, arriving January 16, 1916. In Egypt he attended a 10-day school of instruction from May 28 to June 7, 1916 and he was later attached to the 126th Brigade Stokes Trench Mortar Battery on June 27, 1916.
He sailed with the Battalion to France arriving March 11, 1917. Shortly after arriving he took home leave in the UK for two weeks, from March 25 to April 8, 1917. Shortly after returning he attended a Trench Mortar School from April 13-24, 1917. On June 7th he was taken sick to hospital and remained there for 34 days. During this time, he was promoted to Lieutenant on July 1, 1917. Shortly after his return to the Battalion he was permanently attached to the 126th Brigade Trench Mortar Battery where he remained for the duration of the war. While serving with them, on October 15, 1917, he proceeded to the UK for 10 days leave.
He was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s Despatch of November 8, 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross in the 1919 New Year’s Honors List. On April 1, 1919 he was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross the citation reads:
Awarded a Bar to the Military Cross:
Lt. Thomas Ainsworth, M.C., 1/9th Bn.
Manch. R., T.F., att’d. 126th L.T.M. By.
For marked gallantry and good leadership. At Braistre on 20th October, 1918, he led his section forward and, charging an enemy machine-gun post, killed the crew. His promptness of action on this occasion and later in assisting to clear up several machine-gun posts on the railway was of great value to the company to which he was attached.
(M.C. Gazetted 1st January, 1919.)
He resigned his commission on February 26, 1921 and retained the rank of Lieutenant.