Edward Tompkins was one of four brothers who enlisted for war service. He lived at 144 South Road, Stourbridge, and worked as a bricklayer before volunteering for the Worcesters. Later, probably after injuries, he was transferred to the 11th (Service) Battalion of the Warwicks in the 37th Division. They crossed to France in July 1915 and were sent to the quiet sector of the Somme. They were not involved on the first day of the Battle, but Edward Tomkins and his comrades were close enough to the front line near the little village of La Boisselle when the 34th Division led the attack which started at 7.30 a.m. on the 1st July. Casualties were enormous and the 37th Division was ordered to take over for the next phase of the attack. La Boisselle was taken and they went on towards the village of Pozičres. They had to endure heavy shelling and German counter attacks, one of which was repelled at the point of the bayonet. In this confused situation casualties were inevitably heavy. Sixty four men of the Warwicks were killed and 262 wounded before the battalion was withdrawn. The wounded included Private Edward Tompkins, who was taken to a Casualty Clearing Station where he died on the 12th July as a result of shell-fire. He is buried in Bapaume Post Cemetery (1 E 5) and left behind a widow and six children. He is commemorated on the Stourbridge, Oldswinford church and St. Thomas's church Memorials. His brother, George, was also killed on active service at Gallipoli in 1915 and his nephew, Frank, near Arnhem in 1944.
Rectory Road, Old Swinford, DY8 2HA
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