King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Tomlinson, Herbert Leslie

Corporal ▪ Royal Field Artillery

Herbert Leslie Tomlinson, born on 28th August 1896, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1907. He lived with his mother, Janet, his father, Henry, a manufacturer, and his three siblings on Salisbury Road, Moseley (and later at 12, Amesbury Road, Moseley).

Herbert was in the Modern School, studying a primarily scientific, rather than classical, curriculum. His class performances fluctuated around the average mark, though his highest performance came in French. Herbert was a capable gymnast, winning proxime (second place) in his class in 1912.

At the outbreak of war in 1914, Herbert enlisted with the Royal Engineers as a Despatch Rider, holding the rank of Corporal. Despatch Riders were mounted military messengers, usually on motorbikes, who played a crucial role due to the limited and often insecure telecommunications at the time. Herbert later transferred to the Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner. The School Service Record states that he was killed by hostile aircraft in a hospital in France on June 23rd 1918, aged twenty-one; the reasons for his presence at the hospital are not recorded. Herbert was buried at Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, France, and is also commemorated on the family memorial in Brandwood End Cemetery, Birmingham. In his will, Herbert requested that his executors transfer “the whole of [his] property and [his] effects to [his] sister, Miss K Tomlinson”.