Francis John Oldfield Thomas (FJOT) was born in West London in June 1852, the son of a clergyman. He joined the Navy in 1867 and in the 1871 census is listed as Midshipman on the HMS Royal Oak. In July 1875 he is listed as Sub Lieutenant on HMS Cygnet, operating off the coast of Africa, before joinng HMS Hart as Lieutenant in 1877. After the voyage around the Far East documented in his album, FJOT spent time at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, and is next listed as Lieutenant in Command of HMS Wave, a tender to the training ship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth. He was placed on the retired list as a Commander in April 1886 and died just one month later, back in Greenwich. He was buried in Hillingdon, near his birth place, with the funeral being conducted by his uncle.