Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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306732   Private William Hamilton Tomb
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 18/02/2019
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force (British Air Force)
Died: 02/11/1918 (Died of Illness)
Age: 17
Summary      
William Hamilton Tomb was the son of Hamilton and Mrs. Martha Tomb of Killycurragh, Cookstown. William was regarded as a smart and obliging lad and although only seventeen years of age when the call came for recruits for the Royal Air Force he volunteered. He died of complications from pneumonia at the Royal Air Force Hospital at Landford training camp, Dorset on 2nd November 1918.
Further Information
William Hamilton Tomb was the son of Hamilton and Martha Tomb. Hamilton Tomb married Martha Tomb on 18th August 1881 in the district of Cookstown.
Note that another Hamilton Tomb married Letitia Hagan on 2nd September 1884 in the district of Cookstown. This seems to have caused great confusion with the records.
William Hamilton Tomb was born in late 1901 or 1902 in the Killycurragh, Cookstown.
The 1901 census does not list William as living with the family at house 5 in Killycurragh, Orritor, Cookstown. It can be presumed he was not born at this stage. His father was a farmer.
Incomplete / incorrect family: Hamilton Tomb, Martha Jane Tomb, Matilda Tomb (born 20th December 1882), Janetta Jennie Tomb (born 17th May 1884), Lizzie Tomb (born 18th June 1889?), Florence Morrow Tomb (born 18th April 1889?), John Little Tomb (born 28th December 1893), Isabella Margaret Tomb (born 7th November 1895), Harry Henry Weir Tomb (born 17th August 1898), William Hamilton Tomb (born about 1902).
Williamís father, Hamilton Tomb, died on 26th February 1905. He was 62 years old.
The 1911 census lists William Hamilton as age 9 living with the family at house 7 in Killycurragh, Orritor. His mother was a widow.
William served his apprenticeship with Mr. McKinney, a pharmaceutical chemist in Cookstown.
William was regarded as a smart and obliging lad and although only seventeen years of age, when the call came for recruits for the Royal Air Force, he volunteered.
Private William Hamilton Tomb died of complications from pneumonia at the Royal Air Force Hospital at Landford Training Camp, Dorset on 2nd November 1918.
Private Tomb was brought home to Cookstown and taken to 3rd Presbyterian Church (Molesworth). The coffin was covered in wreaths and draped in the Union Jack and was borne to the hearse by members of Montober R.B.P. of which William was a member.
The Lodge marched in front of the hearse to Clare Churchyard, Kildress.
Behind the chief mourners also marched the Cookstown comrades of the First World War. Owing to the uncertainty of the time of the funeral the authorities could not provide a regular military funeral.
The chief mourners at the funeral were his mother and sister and his brothers, John and Henry. The funeral service at the graveside was conducted by the Rev. Stanley Thompson, B.A. Dungannon (for Rev J. Johnston B.A. Orritor), and the Rev. J. Entrican B.A. led the prayer. Funeral arrangements were conducted by Mr. Robert Steenson.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 9th November 1918:
TOMB Ė 2nd November (of pneumonia), at Royal Air Force Hospital, Blandford Training Camp, Dorset. William Hamilton, youngest and much loved son of the late Hamilton and Mrs Tomb, Killycurragh, Cookstown, age 17 years.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 16th November 1918:
As announced last week, the death took place at Blandford Camp, Dorset, on 2nd November, of William Hamilton Tomb, Killycurragh. The deceased, who was a boy of much promise, came into Cookstown about six months ago to serve his apprenticeship with Mr McKinney, pharmaceutical chemist. Smart and obliging, he was a general favourite. Being a manly boy, though only seventeen years of age, when the last call came for recruits, he decided to take on him the manís duty and go out to face the Hun beast which was seeking to invade our country and ravage our homes. He volunteered and was passed for the Royal Air Force, but at the camp at Blandford he fell victim to pneumonia and died three weeks after leaving Cookstown. He however, had his share in the great victory of Right and Freedom, just as really as if he had fallen in the field of battle, and in our rejoicings we remember him, as we do the heroes who have gone abroad to save the country from the horrors of invasion, with gratitude.
The body arrived in Cookstown on Saturday and was placed in the Third Presbyterian Church, when on Sabbath afternoon a short service was held. Rev J Entrican , B.A., gave a brief and affecting address and Rev R Hyndman, B.A., led in prayer. The coffin, covered with wreaths, and draped in the Union Jack, was borne to the hearse by members of Montober Royal Black Preceptory, of which the deceased was a member, and the lodge marched in front of the hearse to Clare Churchyard. Behind the chief mourners also marched a detachment of Cookstown Comrades of the Great War. But for the uncertainty as to the time when the remains arrive, the authorities could not provide a regular military funeral.
The chief mourners at the funeral were:- Mrs Tomb (mother), Mrs Black (sister), John Tomb, Henry W Tomb (brothers), David Mitchell, Joshua Black, James Weir (brothers-in-law), Silas W Henry Charles, W Henry, Isaac H Henry, Samuel Dale, Joseph Bell, H W McAdoo (uncles), John and Willie Weir (nephews), Captain John Bodkin Henry, R.A.F., Henry Bell, Wesley Henry, George Bell, Ernest Henry, Robert Henry, Samuel Henry (cousins), William Weir, H N McAdoo, John Weir, John Glasgow, J.P., Henry L Glasgow, Glennie Weir, Norman Weir, David J Tomb, Thomas J Glasgow, Joseph Tomb, etc, etc, (relatives).
At the graveside, the funeral service was conducted by the Rev Stanley Thompson, B.A., Dungannon (for Rev J Johnston, B.A., Orritor), and the Rev J Entrican, B.A., led the prayer. The solid oak coffin, with brass mounting, bore the inscription WILLIAM HAMILTON TOMB. Died 2nd November 1918. Age 17 years. Mr Robert Steenson, undertaker, Cookstown, had charge of the funeral arrangements.
Private William Hamilton Tomb is buried in Kildress Church of Ireland Churchyard, just west of Cookstown.
The CWGC record Private W H Tomb as the son of Mrs Martha J Tomb of Killycurragh, Cookstown.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Killycurragh, Oritor Orritor Census listing in Killycurragh, Orritor 54.665999 -6.823904
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Tomb family 1901 census does not list William at house 5 in Killycurragh, Oritor (not born)
2 1911 Census lists Tomb family 1911 census lists William Hamilton as age 9 at house 7 in Killycurragh, Oritor
3 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Private William Tomb's grave can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2020