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  • Photo published in the Nottingham Evening Post on Friday August 27th 1915. The caption reads 'Pte W Tomlinson of Rugby, late of Nottingham, killed in action July 30th.'
Person Details
Hyson Green, Nottingham
William was the son of a lace maker Henry Tomlinson. In 1870, he married Harriet Spowage at Radford, Nottingham and they had the following children - Henry (b.1871), George (b.1873), James (b.1874), Ernest (b.1877), Elizabeth (b.1879), Sarah Ann (b.1881), Florence (b.1884), Albert (b.1886), Eleanor (b.1889) and William (b.1892). In 1881, the family lived at 7, Russelll Place and in 1891 on Lambert Street (both Radford). By 1901, they had moved to 8, Goodall Street and by 1911 to 44, Oldknow Street, (both Hyson Green, Nottingham). In 1891, Henry was a lace dresser, George a brass finisher, James a brass moulder and Ernest a lace hand. In 1901, Florence was a brass bobbin winder and Albert a dyer. By 1911, he, like William, worked as a lace carriage hand. From newspaper references, it seems that William and Harriet moved to Rugby after Henry's death in 1912 aged 58. Ernest Tomlinson was boarding at Rugby in 1911 so they may have joined him following the death of Ernest's wife Alice aged 35 also in 1912. William's pension record cited Harriet Tomlinson as next of kin living at 20, James Street, Rugby.
William Tomlinson was a lace carriage hand in 1911. Before enlisting, he was employed in the BTH Works at Rugby. He was a gifted amateur footballer.
30 Jul 1915
23
1626668 - CWGC Website
R/79
Rifleman
7th Bn King's Royal Rifle Corps
7th Battlion King's Royal Rifle Corps was formed at Winchester on 19 August 1914 as part of K1 and came under orders of 41st Brigade in the 14th (Light) Division. They landed at Boulogne 19/5/1915. William Tomlinson's short front line service was spent in the Ypres Salient. The unit war diary recorded action in June at Dickebusch, Gordon Farm, Poperinghe and Vlamertinghe and in July they moved to Hooge on the Menin Road. During July 1915, the battalion suffered 149 fatalities. Surprisingly, 7th KRRC's war diarist named other ranks killed and wounded as the month unfolded (normal practice was to identify officers only). On July 28th, ('nothing unusual, shelled by our own artillery') William Tomlinson of 'C' Company was one of 12 men wounded. He was not named again in the diary as either wounded or killed. The omission of Tomlinson's name in the battle's immediate aftermath is understandable; ‘a complete casualty list,’ explained the diarist on July 31st, ‘is very hard to prepare without details from the clearing stations and owing to many being killed and wounded beyond reach.’ Several sources confirm that William Tomlinson was killed in action 30th July near Zouave Wood as part of a counter-attack in support of KRRC's 8th battalion. From 4am, they were in danger from a 45 minute bombardment by British artillery after which, 'the Germans poured a terrific fire of heavy high explosives... causing many casualties.' Attempting to withdraw at 2.45, 'our exit from the wood was impeded by our own barbed wire and owing to heavy machine gun fire by the enemy, very few got beyond the edge of the wood.' William Tomlinson was killed during this phase at 3.30 pm. 7th KRRC managed to dig in and consolidate but no advance was possible. They were relieved and withdrawn around midnight. 115 of the battalion had been killed on July 30th 1915. Only one has a known grave, the remainder being commemorated on the Menin Gate - testimony to the ferocity of warfare taking their lives.
Menin Gate, Panels 51 & 53 Military history sources: 7th Bn King's Royal Rifle Company War Diary (TNA WO95/1896/3) Pension records through Fold3 Silver War Badge Index Casualty figures from the CWGC Debt of Honour Register William's brother Ernest (R/1250, King's Royal Rifle Corps) enlisted 4/9/1914 and was probably a recalled reservist. He received a scalp wound in 1915 and was hospitalised at Norwich before being moved to a convalescent home. He was awarded a Silver War Badge (105333), discharged 30/11/1915 and returned to Rugby to live with his mother. Research by David Nunn
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photo published in the Nottingham Evening Post on Friday August 27th 1915. The caption reads 'Pte W Tomlinson of Rugby, late of Nottingham, killed in action July 30th.'
    William Tomlinson - Photo published in the Nottingham Evening Post on Friday August 27th 1915. The caption reads 'Pte W Tomlinson of Rugby, late of Nottingham, killed in action July 30th.'
  • The piece includes a letter from his platoon sergeant confirming that Tomlinson died during the counter-attack (at Zouave Wood although not specified due to wartime censorship)
    Rugby Advertiser August 7th 1915 - The piece includes a letter from his platoon sergeant confirming that Tomlinson died during the counter-attack (at Zouave Wood although not specified due to wartime censorship)