Private 16317 Benjamin Tonks

Tonks Benjamin 96 429x600
Photo courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project.

Died of Wounds on Sunday, 11th June 1916, age 19.
Buried in Grave VI. Q. 63. at Merville Communal Cemetery, Nord, France.

18th Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers. 104th Brigade of 35th Division.

Son of Isaac Tonks, of 24, Broad St., Wallbrook, Coseley, Bilston, Staffs.
Born: Deepfields, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Coseley.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. John's Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/539538/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
3 Edge Street, Coseley, Staffs.
Isaac Tonks (34, Puddler, born Coseley), his wife Catherine (31, born Bloxwich), and their 5 children: Thomas (9, born Coseley), Lily (8, born Coseley), Isaac (6, born Coseley), Benjamin (4, born Coseley), and Arthur (1, born Coseley).

1911 Census
24 Broad Street, Wallbrook, Coseley, Staffs.
Isaac Tonks (44, Coal Miner, born Coseley), his wife Catherine (42, born Bloxwich), and their 9 children: Thomas (19, Coal Miner, born Coseley), Lily (18, born Coseley), Isaac (16 Box Filler at Blast Furnace, born Coseley), Benjamin (14, Moulder at Foundry, born Coseley), Arthur (11, School, born Coseley), Frederick (9, School, born Coseley), Joseph (7, School, born Coseley), John (5, School, born Coseley), and Samuel (1, born Coseley).

Personal Data

Benjamin Tonks was born and lived in Coseley, he is recorded here as he is commemorated on St. John's Memorial; he is not really a Tipton man.
Benjamin's brother Isaac Tonks, was killed on 4th November 1914 whilst serving with the 1st South Staffs.

Action resulting in his death

The 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was initially a Bantam Battalion for men less than the 5' 3'' required for other infantry Battalions. By the end of 1916 the quality of Bantam replacements became sub-standard; in common with the other Bantam Battalions, replacements from then on were average conscripts. As Benjamin Tonks died in 1916, it can be assumed that he was a Bantam by height.

The Division was serving in the Festubert / Neuve Chapelle area in the days before Benjamin's death. He was wounded in action and was evacuated back to Merville where Casualty Clearing Stations were situated. No specific actions including the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers occurred in the days before Benjamin's death, so this was likely to have been one of the daily occurrences of enemy artillery or small arms fire.

Benjamin died of his wounds on Sunday, 11th June 1916, and is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings