Thomas was born on the 21st of January 1893 to John Underhill and Annie Fulford at Bideford, North Devon. His father was a Corn Seed And Manure Merchant operating out of Bideford. Thomas attended Upper County School and then Bideford’s Old Town (Boys) School. On leaving school he joined his fathers business working as a clerk in the office. This was interrupted by World War one when he joined up at the outbreak of hostilities initially with the North Devon Hussars as a motor cyclist. He was soon given a commissioned rank with the Army Service Corps serving in Palestine and at Gallipoli as a Second Lieutenant, and on promotion to Captain he served in France.
On his return from the war he married Bertha May Glover at Bideford in 1919, setting up home at Bude before going on to establish himself at Launceston, Cornwall in 1936, as an agricultural merchant purchasing the late Dr. Willie Thompson’s residence, ‘Penquite’ at Roydon road, Launceston. Thomas and Bertha had one son and three daughters. He was a devoted Methodist and gave much support to the denomination.
In 1936 along with Herbert Fulford, John Fulford, George Fulford and John Trump Dunn he helped form Fulford, Trumps and Co. Ltd with the amalgamation of J. O. Fulford and Sons, Fulfords (Bude) Ltd., Troods Ltd., George U Fulford Ltd., W. Bate and Sons Ltd, and Trumps Ltd.. The company offered a broad base of agricultural products including implements, animal feedstuffs and building materials.
In 1945 he fought the North Cornwall parliamentary area for the conservative party eventually losing by 2,665 votes to the sitting Liberal candidate Thomas Lewis Horabin.
Involved in many civic and sporting organisations Fulford was elected to the Borough Council of Launceston in 1939 and became Mayor in 1949. In Dececember 1949 the Mayor and Mrs Fulford sailed on a 3 month official visit to Tasmania, bringing with him the Mayoral Chain – the first time it had been permitted to leave England. During this visit Fulford Street was named to honour both him and the special link between Launceston, Cornwall and its daughter city. Thomas continued as Launceston’s Mayor for a second successive year in 1950 this time paying host to the visit of H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth (below left). He was also chairman of the water committee and the housing committee. In 1941 he was elected President of the National Association of Corn and Agricultural Merchants Ltd., A position that he was re-elected to the following year. He held directorates with the following Eagle Star Insurance (Plymouth), Grenville Hotel Ltd. (Bude), Duchy Bakeries, Launceston Abattoir Ltd., Bude Picture Co. Ltd..
He was also the president of Launceston Golf Club from 1942, president of Launceston Cottage Garden and Allotment Society, president of Kensey Vale Bowling Club.
In 1948 he purchased the 1,530 acre Badentoy (Mearns) estate in Kincardineshire for £24,000. This was to increase the seed potatoe business with Scottish seed potatoes being blight resistant. He also had acquired the Manor of Boscastle, and with it practically the whole of that one time busy port. In January 1956 he announced that he had made a gift to the National Trust of Boscastle Harbour (below left) and over 60 acres containing much of the cliff land around including Penally Point (below right) and the 317ft. headland of Willapark.
This was to prove to be one of his last acts as he died on the 27th of February 1956 at Launceston Hospital after a sudden heart attack. More than 700 people attended his funeral including the Mayor and Corporation in full robes, with the service being held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Launceston. In addition, people gathered in the adjacent schoolroom, to which the service was relayed by loudspeaker. At the entrance of the church, ex-Servicemen of both World Wars provided a British Legion guard of Honour. The service was conducted by the Circuit Superintendent Minister (Rev. H. W. Charity), and the organist was Mr. W. Leverton. The internment took place privately at Poughill Church, Bude,where the benediction was pronounced by the Vicar, the Rev. S. W. Drewer.