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Author Topic: George Tomlin, died at Gallipoli 1915  (Read 1889 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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George Tomlin, died at Gallipoli 1915
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2012, 16:01:16 »
George Tomlin was the brother of John Tomlin who died on Board HMS Cressy in 1914 (http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=12782.0).

When looking at the CWGC records we get a very spartan acount of him:

TOMLIN GEORGE PATRICK
Private 8275 George Patrick TOMLIN. 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Died 7th August 1915 aged 22 years. Resided Brompton. Son of Henry and Elizabeth Tomlin of 10 Westcourt Street, Old Brompton, Chatham, Kent. Commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.


George Patrick Tomlin, born about March 1891, almost certainly at 15 Manor Street where he is recorded as a 1 month old resident in the 1891 census. In 1901 he is with his family at 4 Manor Street. Gibbon, his eldest brother, tells us in his writings that George joined the East Kent Militia aged 16. If this is correct then he must have joined up in 1907, not 1909 as Gibbon remembered. Unfortunately George seems to be one of the soldiers whose service records were destroyed in the Blitz, so this is hard to confirm. By the start of the First World War he had been transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Hampshire regiment (Service No. 8275). His Commonwealth War Graves record shows he was killed at Gallipoli on 7th August 1915.

However, another source says he was killed on the S.S. River Clyde, a converted collier, which was run aground on 25 April 1915 beneath the old Seddülbahir fortress so that the troops could disembark directly via ramps to the shore. The troops emerging one by one from the sally ports on the River Clyde presented perfect targets to the machine guns in the fort. Of the first 200 soldiers to disembark, only 21 men made it onto the beach. The problem with knowing who exactly landed from the River Clyde is that only ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ Companies of the 2nd Bn were on the boat. So unless you know which company a man was, and it was rarely recorded, you cannot know. The rest landed further up the coast. On 25 April those Hampshires on the ship were held back on board once the degree of slaughter ashore had been recognised; their CO lay dead on the ship's bridge and the majority of the men did not get ashore until after dark. If he had been on board the Clyde that day, it seems he was one of those who survived.

Records in the Hampshire’s Regimental museum demonstrate that he did, indeed, survive the slaughter of the 25th of April, although he was certainly among the troops present at Gallipoli that day. According to the Hampshire Regimental Journal, he was wounded in the right forearm on 6th of May 1915, but it obviously wasn’t bad enough for him to be repatriated.

Soldiers Died in the Great War gives his date of death as 7.8.15, CWGC gives 7.8.15, the regimental journal says 6.8.15 but also says 7.8.15. The Medal Roll says 7.8.15.  This slight confusion, combined with his place of commemoration, may also indicate something of the circumstances of his death.

It is more probable that he was killed in the futile diversionary attack of 6-7 August which cost the battalion over 600 dead and wounded. The 6th August 1915 was indeed an awful day for the 2nd Bn with very many casualties: 18 officers and 224 other ranks killed and missing and 2 and 210 wounded. If Pte Tomlin had died of wounds the various sources would state that, suggesting he was one of those killed outright, or missing. When the unit was relieved later on the 7th its strength was less than 400 all ranks.  Only one officer had got through unscathed and he had already earned his V.C.  With all this confusion and loss it is easy to see how there may have been some doubt as to whether he was killed in the initial attack on the 6th or in the action the following day. Even if there were witnesses to his death it is likely they too died before it could be reported.

Sadly he has no known grave, but he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey which commemorates the thousands who were quite literally blown to pieces or whose battlefield burials were obliterated, and the Brompton War Memorial.


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