This photograph was published in the Midland Counties Express on 13 November 1915. It shows to four sons and one son-in-law of Mr E. Tomlinson of 280 New Cross Terrace, Heath Town, as follows:
- Private Jack (top), 33 years old and married, joined the 10th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment in March 1915
- Private Fred (middle), aged 20, in the 1st/6th South Staffords
- Corporal Frank (bottom), aged 24, joined the Army in 1910 and is serving with the Royal Horse Artillery
- Gunner J. Tomlinson (right), aged 29 and serving with the Royal Field Artillery in France
- Private Tom McCornick (left), son-in-law, serving with the Manchester Regiment in France
Edwin Tomlinson’s family were living at 35 Paul Street, Heath Town, in 1901, and he had seven sons (Ernest, John, Charles, William, Frank, Frederick and Albert) and three daughters (Alice, Emily and Hannah). Edwin’s wife and the children’s mother was Sophia, but she only appeared with the family in 1891. By 1911 Edwin was still listed as “married” rather than “widower”. He was now at 280 New Cross, Wolverhampton Road, Heath Town, and he only had Hannah, Frederick and Albert still living with him.
Jack or John, was born in Wolverhampton in 1881. He had become a latch key maker by 1901. On 25 December 1902, he married Fanny Clara D’Arcy. By 1911, the couple were living at 16 New Street, Heath Town, and they had four children – Edwin Harold, Fanny Clara, Lily and Ethel. John was now a vermin trapmaker. In March 1915, he enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 17976). By then, his address was 25 New Street, and they had had a further two children, William Albert and Eva. He served in France from October 1915 until March 1919. After the war, the couple had five further children – Vera (1920), Alice M. (1922), Frank (1925), Jack (1926) and Jean 1928). John died in Wolverhampton in 1949.
Fred was born in Wolverhampton in 1895. By 1911 he was a butcher’s labourer. He enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment (first 1723, then number 240117), rising to become an Acting Corporal in the 2nd Battalion. He was killed in action on 23 August 1918. He is buried at Douchy-les-Ayette British Cemetery.
Frank was born in Wolverhampton in 1892. He was already with the “D” Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery (number 61819) by the 1911 census. Frank rose to become a Sergeant, but was killed in action on 2 December 1917. He is buried at the Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery British Extension. The Heath Park memorial lists two men by the name of “F. Tomlinson”, so it is likely that both Fred and Frank are remembered here.
The man the newspaper calls J. Tomlinson has been more difficult to track down as neither Charles (born 1883) nor William (born 1888) are the right age. So I have not been able to confirm further details of this man’s military service or life.
Thomas McCormick married Emily Tomlinson in Prestwich in 1913, and they had a son, Thomas, in 1915. He survived the war and died in Manchester in 1961.