Corporal 6578 William Tomlin

Tomlin William 96 419x600

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 3rd September 1918, age 35.
Buried in Grave III. H. 5. at Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery, Somme, France.

10th Bn., King's Shropshire Light Infantry. 231st Brigade of 74th Division.

Son of George and Mary Tomlin of Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Worcester, Resident: Dudley Port.

First landed France & Flanders, 18th February 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/4037414/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William James Tomlins registered December quarter 1882 at Dudley.

1901 Census
King's Shropshire Light Infantry Barracks, Shrewsbury.
William Tomlin (18, Private in KSLI, born Dudley).

1911 Census
214 Cromwell Road, Lliswerry, Newport, Monmouthshire.
Lodging with Mrs Dora Baker and her family was: William Tomlin (28, Labourer at Sheet Iron Works, born South Staffs).

Personal Data

William attested with the 5th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment as part of the militia force on 19th January 1901. His home address was given as care of his father George Tomlin, at Grand Juntion Yard, Dudley Port. His mother, Mary, had died in 1899, and his father, George, was to die just a year later in 1902.

William was 18 years and 3 months old, 5 feet 4¼ inches tall, weighed 113 pounds, and had just a 31½-inch chest with a 2-inch expansion. He had a fresh complexion, brown eyes, dark brown hair and was a Protestant. William was employed as a Galvaniser at James Holcroft of Red Hill, Stourbridge.

William had enlisted for 6 years with the Worcestershire Militia but less than 2 months later, on 4th March 1901, he left to join the King's Shropshire Light Infantry as a regular soldier. In 1911 he was no longer in the army, but living in Newport, Wales. It is not known if he was still a Reservist at the outbreak of war or if he volunteered to serve again.

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £19/5/0d (19 pounds and 5 shillings); £5 was paid to legatee Ellen Hill, and the balance to his brother Ernest, in June 1919. His War Gratuity was £24/10/0d (24 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his brother Ernest in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted in approximately August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 10th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (10/KSLI) had spent the last week in August 1918 behind the lines in Saint-Floris and Lambres, some 25 miles north-west of Arras. On the 29th August, the 10/KSLI entrained at Aire-sur-la-Lys and spent an uncomfortable 22 hours being transported the 60 miles or so to Méricourt-l'Abbé, and then marched to Ribemont-sur-Ancre.

After a short period of training, the 10/KSLI moved by bus to Maricourt, then marched on through Clery-sur-Somme before arriving at Bouchavesnes on 2nd September. Bouchavesnes is just 4 miles north of Péronne and the River Somme, and here they spent the night of 2nd/3rd September in disused trenches. Overnight they were shelled with both gas and high explosives and suffered some casualties.

The 10/KSLI War Diary for 3rd September records:
“Bouchavesnes 3/9/18
Spent the whole day standing to in support to the 229 Brigade. In the evening a 5.9-inch shell fell in ‘C’ Company lines killing 8 and wounding 7 Other Ranks.”

6 of the men killed that day are buried in row ‘H’ of Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery, amongst them is William Tomlin.

Newspaper Cuttings