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Captain the Rev. William H Tomkins

Army Chaplains’ Department attached to 7th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment

Rev W H Tomkins
Rev W H Tomkins
Son of Rev W J and Mrs Tomkins
Husband of Mrs W H Tomkins, Doncaster

Aged 41 years

Died 27th September 1918

Commemorated at Cagincourt British Cemetery
Grave I. C.7.

Born at Barking, Essex.
Rushden Echo, 2nd February 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

For Salonika—Captain the Rev. W. H. Tomkins, C.F., of Doncaster (eldest son of the late Rev. W. J. Tomkins, formerly of Rushden) who, as recently reported in the “Rushden Echo,” had received instructions from the Army to proceed to East Africa, has now had his previous instructions cancelled, and has orders for Salonika. His many friends wish him bon voyage and a safe return.

The Rushden Echo, Friday 4 October 1918, transcibed by Nicky Bates

Rushden's Casualty List - Chaplain Killed

The Rev W H Tomkins, Baptist minister, and Chaplain to the Forces (son of the late Rev W J Tomkins, for many years pastor of the Old Baptist Meeting at Rushden), was, we regret to say, killed in action on Sunday last in France. The deceased, who was 41 years of age, was a brother of Mr Bernard Tomkins, of the "Rushden Echo" staff, and of Mr Eric Tomkins, the well-known, footballer, who is now serving with the colours. The late chaplain received his theological training at Spurgeon's college. After holding pastorates at Yalding (Kent) and Batley, he was the minister of Morley Tabernacle, Leeds, for a long-period, and a few years ago he removed to Doncaster, his ministrations being highly appreciated. On becoming a Chaplain to the Forces he went in January, 1917, to Macedonia, and then had 14 months' service in Palestine, after which he went to France with the South Staffs. Whenever the boys went into action, Mr Tomkins, always went with then, and it was in last Sunday's great attack that he met his death. He leaves a widow.

The Rushden Echo, Friday 11 October 1918, transcibed by Nicky Bates

The Late Captain WH Tomkins Officers Tributes

Further details of the death of Captain the Rev. W H Tomkins, CF, (son of the late Rev W J Tomkins, for many years pastor of the Baptist church at Rushden), have now been received. Lieut-Colonel W H Carser, South Staffordshire Regiment writing to Captain Tomkins's invalid wife, who is now at Mount Sorrel, Leicestershire says that the cause of death was the accidental explosion of a German bomb, Captain Tomkins being struck in the head as he lay asleep, and he never regained consciousness, dying about an hour after the accident. The body was buried in the military cemetery, six miles from the firing line. "The death of your husband is most keenly felt throughout the battalion" Lieut Carser adds, "Both officers and men had got to known him and to appreciate his many qualities. He was always unsparing in his efforts to do anything that would further the comfort of the men, and his courage and cheerfulness under all circumstance had earned his the respect and confidence of all ranks."

The Rev. R C Law at the Baptist church, Rushden, on Sunday evening, referred in touching terms to the death of Capt. Tomkins. The Principal chaplain writes to the bereaved widow that Captain Tomkins was "courageous, patient, and faithful unto death."

To the late Capt the Rev W H Tomkins, Chaplain to the Forces who died for his country in France, September 27th, 1918:-

"Duty impelled you, and you never faltered.
There was no need for her to whisper twice:
The end you saw not, no, nor would have altered;
You took the Cross, and made the sacrifice.

With sincere regret and in kindly memory of one, who, to the end, played the game with other brave "boys" giving all he had and hoped for in the cause of honour and freedom. This humble tribute, also, is offered to the tolerant spirit, which never allowed his profession to interfere with his friendship, but which was manifest in his kindness and sympathy, given irrespective of church and creed. From a mother of one the "Boys" and for Auld Lang Syne, Rushden, Oct. 7th, 1918.

The Rushden Echo, Friday 1st November 1918, transcibed by Nicky Bates

Rushden's Casualty List - Victims of the War

Mr Bernard Tomkins, of the "Rushden Echo" editorial staff, has received a letter from Sergt-Major F D Miller, R.E., of Rushden, expressing sympathy with him in the loss he has sustained by the death in France, of his brother, Capt the Rev W H Tomkins, CF. Sergt-Major Miller writes under date October 22nd: "On receipt of the 'Rushden Echo' for October 4th it was with much regret I noticed the death of your brother, the late Capt. WH Tomkins. I was rather surprised, as I was unaware he was out here, not having heard of seen him for many years; in fact, since he used to go from Rushden to Higham with me and other (Higham Ferrers Grammar School. - Editor, 'R.E.'). It is however, at such times as these and an end like his, that one feels proud to thing they knew him. Kindly accept my deepest sympathy, trusting your sorrow may be somewhat eased by the fact of his having shared the sacrifice with some of the noblest and best (in its highest sense) of all classes, professions, and conditions of men that the world's history records. In a previous edition of the 'Rushden Echo' I noticed a son of George Denton, Rushden, was in hospital at 83rd general, or 'Dublin', was we know it. I made inquiries, however, without any effective result. If you hear of any Rushden young fellows in hospital in Boulogne area I shall be pleased to make any inquiries and let the relatives known the condition and progress, or any little thing they might want done. I came down here, after the March retirement, towards the end of April, and have been here ever since. I am kept very busy, owing to extension of hospital, new wards, operating blocks, etc. I am now on the third (nearly finished). What wit the drainage and water supply, and getting out materials for same, one is kept going continually. The personal comfort and absence of risks (air-raids excepted) make it welcome after three years nearly all up the line. I regret to say that with all the peace moves and rumours the hospital trains arrive very regularly, and recently the wounded are rather considerable, also the deaths. One gets an insight into the after-effects here. I was in hope of being home ere this, but I really think one has to be in no class or grade to get home. It is nearly 2Vi years since I last wrote a few lines, on the July offensive, 1916. I am afraid, however, time and space are insufficient at present to record half the happenings since then. Kindly remember me to any inquirers."

The Rushden Echo Friday 26 September 1919, transcibed by Nicky Bates

In Memoriam

TOMKINS - A tribute to the memory of Capt WH Tomkins, C.F., who was accidentally killed in France, Sept 28th, 1918. From his cousins. Clara and Will.

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