|Rushden Echo, October 4th, 1918, transcribed by Greville Watson
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 minister 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 Staffords. Whenever the boys went into action, Mr Tomkins always went with them, and it was in last Sunday’s great attack that he met with his death. He leaves a widow.
Rushden Echo, November 1st, 1918
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, the late Capt. the Rev. W. H. Tomkins, C.F. 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. W. H. Tomkins. I was rather surprised, as I was unaware he was out here, not having heard or seen him for many years; in fact, since he used to go from Rushden to Higham with me and others. (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 think they knew him. Kindly accept my deepest sympathy, trusting that 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 Mr George Denton, Rushden, was in hospital at 83rd General, or ‘Dublin’ as we know it. I made enquiries, 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 know 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 block, etc. I am now on the third (nearly finished). What with 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 2½ 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.”