John Patrick Tohill was the eldest son of George and Jane Tohill. He was born on 1st June 1875 in Belfast. He was the eldest of at least six children. By 1881, the family had moved to Cookstown where John grew up. In January 1906, John was married. He and Henrietta had two children. He was in business with his brother-in-law in the motor and cycle trade. At the outbreak of war he offered his services as a despatch rider but wasn’t accepted. John then volunteered for motor transport work with the Royal Army Service Corps. Private Tohill was serving with the Army Service Corps and was attached to the 179th Tunneling Company of the Royal Engineers in France when he was killed by shell fire on Wednesday 26th January 1916.
John Patrick Tohill was the eldest son of George and Jane Tohill. George Tohill and Jane Dias were married on 30th August 1870 in Belfast.
John Tohill was born on 1st June 1875 in Belfast. He was the eldest of at least six children.
Known family: George Tohill, Jane Tohill, John Patrick Tohill (born 1st June 1875, Belfast), Joseph Tohill (born 8th February 1878, Belfast), George Tohill (born 11th March 1880, Belfast), Henry Tohill (born 7th December 1881, Cookstown), James Tohill (born 25th October 1883, Cookstown), Elizabeth Tohill (born 30th January 1886, Cookstown).
By 1881, the family had moved to Cookstown where John grew up.
John Tohill married Henrietta Mary McNally, the daughter of Mr. John McNally J.P., in Cookstown on 3rd January 1906.
Family: John Tohill, Henrietta Mary Tohill, Charles John George Tohill (born 22nd November 1906, Belfast), Sheila Tohill (born 24th August 1913, Cookstown).
John Tohill was in business with his brother-in-law Louis McNally in the motor and cycle trade.
Louis is listed as living with the Tohill family at Molesworth Road/Street in the 1911 census. John is not living with his wife and son.
John Tohill was a keen sportsman, a skilled motorist and motorcycle rider. At the outbreak of war he offered his services as a dispatch rider but wasn’t accepted.
In November 1914 John Tohill volunteered for motor transport work with the Royal Army Service Corps.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 14th November 1914:
Mr John Tohill, son-in-law of Mr John McNally, J.P., Cookstown, has volunteered for service with the Army Service Corps and is on his way to France
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 12th December 1914:
Mr Louis McNally, youngest son of Mr John McNally, J.P., Cookstown, has volunteered as a driver in the Army Service Corps. His brother-in-law, Mr John Tohill, volunteered some weeks ago and is seeing life amongst military motors.
Almost immediately he was in the thick of things in the British front lines, supplying all the Camps in the Loos sector of the Western Front.
Private John Tohill was subsequently offered a commission for his work in that sector but turned it down to stay with transport duties. He was then attached to the Royal Engineers for transport work and was at home in Dublin shortly after Christmas 1915 until the New Year 1916.
John’s brother also served. He was invalided in action in early 1915.
Private Tohill was serving with the Army Service Corps and was attached to the 179th Tunneling Company of the Royal Engineers in France when he was killed by shell fire on Wednesday 26th January 1916.
John Tohill left a widow and two children. They were aged nine and two and a half.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 10th February 1916:
John P Tohill, of the Mechanical Transport Section, Army Service Corps, was killed in France on 26th January. He was the eldest son of the late Mr George Tohill, Cookstown.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 12th February 1916
TOHILL: January 26, killed in action by shell fire, in France, John P Tohill, A.S.C., M.T., eldest son of the late George Tohill, of Cookstown, and dearly loved husband of Henrietta M Tohill, 67 Hollybank Road, Drumcondra, Dublin. R.I.P.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 12th February 1916
Widespread regret was felt in Cookstown on Saturday on the receipt of the news that Mr John Tohill had been killed by shell fire at the Front. He was the eldest son of the late Mr George Tohill of Cookstown, and was married to the youngest daughter of Mr John McNally J.P., Cookstown. Before the war he was in partnership with Mr Louis McNally in the motor and cycle business. Mr Tohill was a keen sportsman of the type which does things, and is not content to merely look on, and cheer or criticise. Hence when war was declared against Germany for outraging Belgium, being a skilful motorist, he offered his services as a despatch rider. But he was unable to get on, and in November 1915, he volunteered for motor transport work on the Army Service Corps, and was almost immediately in the heart of things in the British lines, supplying all the camps in the Loos district. He was offered a commission for his work there, but preferred to remain in the ranks. Subsequently he was attached to the Royal Engineers, for transport work, and it was while so engaged that he was killed by shell fire. He was home for a week’s furlough in the first week of January, and exactly a fortnight later was killed. He leaves a young widow and two children, a boy of nine and a girl of 2 ˝ years, to mourn his loss, and in time, be proud of the fact that their father was no shirker. Mr Tohill’s youngest brother was also doing his bit in the trenches, and a year ago was disabled by a shot in the arm. Another brother volunteered but was unable to pass the medical examination. He has three cousins in the fighting line in France, one in the motor transport, another in the Flying Corps, and a third in the navy, while his late partner, Mr Louis McNally, is on motor transport, but has not been sent abroad.
Private John P Tohill is buried Plot 1, Row B, Grave 9 at Albert Communal Cemetery Extension, France.
The CWGC Record Private Tohill as the son of the late George Tohill and the husband of Henrietta M. Tohill, of 67, Hollybank Rd., Drumcondra, Dublin. Born at Cookstown, Ireland.