Tom shortened his full name to THOMAS HENRY for all his freelance art work to avoid conflict with his main employers, Thomas Forman and Sons. In 1919 he created the William image from his imagination and not from any particular child. He was then nearly 40 years old. This was the beginning of a writer/illustrator relationship with Richmal Crompton that was to last for 43 years. Astonishingly they met only once at a book festival luncheon in Nottingham. Their meeting created much publicity much to Tom's embarrassment. He told my father that it was a very nice day but that he was glad when it was all over.
Tom illustrated 33 William books and countless William strip cartoons for various magazines. Tom created these cartoon strips with Richmal's approval. He would however consult her if the publisher's wanted a storyline to go in a direction that was not typical of the William character. In the Woman's Own magazine between 1947 and 1962 he produced approximately 800 cartoons with 3 pictures to each story.
William's image changed very little over the 43 years but he did at some point in his life discard his starched collar and waistcoat in favour of more modern attire.
Tom never completed the drawings for the 34th book William and the Witch therefore in this book some drawings are by THOMAS HENRY and the rest are by his successor Henry Ford.
He created two jigsaw puzzles, one depicting William and friends doing laundry and another where they are milking a cow. There is also a magic painting book and a William card game