Loos Memorial and Cemetery
Both photographs thanks to the International War Graves Photography Project – Find a grave
On the 1901 census shows Joseph Tomkins (born circa 1893 in Worcester) living at 25 Little Chesnut Road, Worcester. His mother Sarah Winifred Tomkins, 38, and a Washerwoman, states that she is a widow, born Bransford, Worcester. Her sons Harry, 13, an Errand Boy and Joseph, 8 had been born in Worcester, as had her daughters, May, 2 and Elizabeth 6 months old. There was a Boarder, John Newall, 69, single and a Music Teacher.
I believe that Sarah was working as a Domestic Servant on the 1881 census, she was age 16, single and born Bransford, Worcester. She was living with a family of John & Elizabeth Hepple, a Bookseller and Stationer’s Assistant and their 5 children in Chesnut Walk, Worcester.
I believe that Sarah had a child Henry (Harry) Tomkins circa 1887, as on the 1891 census he was age 4 and was living with his grandfather, Alfred Tomkins, who had remarried after Sarah Winifred’s mother Sarah had died possibly 1876, age 49 (Martley Vol 6c Page 180).
Sarah’s father Alfred’s new bride was Elizabeth Spittle and they had married in the September Quarter (Dudley Vol 6c Page 94) of 1881, after the 1881 census when they were living in the same house, in Suckley Road, Bransford, Worcester with Alfred’s son Alfred, then 12. Elizabeth Spittle, 40, single and a Visitor, born Stafford.
The 1891 census show the new family living at 37, St Clements Square, Worcester. Alfred, 59 was a General Labourer, born in Stockton, Worcestershire. Elizabeth Tomkins had been born in Dickson Green, Netherton, Worcestershire. In the household were sons Elisha Joseph, 16, Charles H. 10 and Edward , 3, who with daughters Myra T., 8 and Nelly, 6, had all been born in Netherton, Worcester. Alfred’s Grandson Henry Tomkins, 4, mentioned above, had been born in St. Helens, Worcester.
In 1891, Sarah Tomkins, 26 was a Nurse (Sick) and single, and living at 3, Hope Cottages, Worcester, (St. Peter the Great).
See above for the 1901 census.
The 1911 census sees the family still living in Little Chesnut Street, Worcester, only now at number 26. Sarah Tomkins, was 46, a widow and a Housewife. A son James, 23, makes his first appearance, although I suspect he is Harry, a Leather Glaiser while son Joseph, 18 was an Errand Boy, May, 12 and Lizzie, 10 were at school. There was a Nurse Child, Gladys Taylor, age 4 and at school living in the household as well.
Between 1911 and the war, Joseph must have come to this area to live and work, as he enlisted in Shotton according to the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919. It confirms his regimental details and confirms he was born and resided in Worcester, but I think he was probably just lodging somewhere here to get work.
There is no Flintshire Index Card neither “Fallen” nor “Living” for Joseph, so there may not have been any close relative here to do that.
Joseph, is also named on the Memorial Plaque at St. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay, so may have been a worshipper at the church.
He is mentioned in the book “Soldiers Died in the Great War. Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Volume 28” and that confirms that he enlisted in Shotton as well.
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 about Joseph Tomkins tell us that his first Theatre of War was France and he entered it on the 19th July 1915, his death was accepted as the 25th September 1915, just over 2 months later.
Joseph Tomkins in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the date of his death was presumed to be on the 25th September 1916, even though all other Army Documents including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission give it as the 25th September 1915. The Sole Legatee was his mother Sarah who was paid £1. 18s 10d on the 1st March 1917 and his War Gratuity of £3. 10s 0d was also paid to his mother Sarah W. (sic) on the 22nd September 1919. (I wonder if the clerk who wrote the details in the register was tired and wrote the wrong date as Joseph’s entry was between a soldier who died in 1915 and one that died in 1916.)
See this website http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/loos.htm