Private John Thomas Toase. 10th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers. Service No: 40222.
Formerly Durham Light Infantry. Service No. 32226.
John Thomas Toase was born in Skinningrove in 1882, with the birth being registered in Guisborough, North Riding of Yorkshire in the third quarter of the year. His parents were John and Georgina Naomi Toase née Imeson. John (senior) was an ironstone miner and they were living at 122, Albion Place, Lofthouse. Sadly he died aged around 32 years in June 1887.
In the 1891 census they were living at 18, Cold Street, Haworth and widowed Georgina was a dress maker. Her eldest son George Henry was 16 and a weaver and John Thomas was now a scholar aged eight. The youngest was Joseph William aged 5. Georgina also had two boarders living there to supplement her income.
By the 1901 census they had moved home again, this time to Upper Marsh in Oxenhope and Georgina had remarried, to Walter Marley who was a labourer in a stone quarry and almost ten years younger than Georgina. John Thomas was now 18 and working as a painter.
In 1908 John Thomas had moved to 5, Mytholmes in Haworth which he was renting from Hattersley & Son Ltd, the mill owners, who also owned quite a few of these terraced houses. He was there until at least 1910.
By 1911 the family had moved to Stanbury and were living at Far Slack which is way off to the West of Stanbury village, Thomas Marley was a farmer on his own account and Georgina was doing house work. George had moved out. John Thomas was 28 and still a painter on his own account and younger brother Joseph William was a quarry man and delver.
Thomas was still living at Far Slack Farm when he enlisted with the Durham Light Infantry at Keighley in early 1916 and he later went to the Northumberland Fusiliers. No service record exists for him but his brother William's service record is available. The Military Service Act was in force at this time and William enlisted with the Northumberland Fusiliers on 8th May, 1916 so it is likely they both went slightly before the Derby Scheme mobilisation of their age group began on 29th May 1916. Thomas would have had three or four months of training as an infantryman before going out to France, so if he enlisted in April or May, we estimate he was posted out there in August or September 1916. (This was the case for William.) Thomas appears to have developed pneumonia, probably as a result of the harsh conditions during winter in the trenches and he would have been evacuated to a medical facility such as a Field Ambulance and passed up through the evacuation chain as his condition worsened. He died at No. 12 Casualty Clearing Station, which had been based at Hazebrouk since mid June 1915 and was buried in grave 13 of row C in plot I as part of the Hazebrouk Communal Cemetery burials which were set up alongside the main Hazebrouk cemetery.
Keighley News 27th January 1917, page 3:
STANBURY. - DEATH OF PRIVATE T. TOASE.
On Wednesday morning last a letter was received by Mrs. Marley from the sister-in-charge of No. 12 Clearing Station - one of the field hospitals in France - announcing the death of Private Tommy Toase, of Slack Farm, Stanbury. He had been suffering from a severe attack of pneumonia, and last week he appeared to have got a turn for the better, but later he had a relapse and passed away on Sunday last. Private Toase, who was a painter and decorator in civil life, was a general favourite, his quiet humour and his unfailing good temper endearing him to all with whom he came in contact.
Thomas was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service and these would have gone to his mother Georgina in 1920/21 along with his Great War memorial plaque and scroll. She also received his remaining pay and the War Gratuity payment of £3 issued in 1919.
Thomas is remembered locally on the Stanbury and Oldfield War memorial in Stanbury Cemetery.
His brother Joseph William Toase served in the Northumberland Fusiliers and later, the Tank Corps. He returned home after the war ended. He was later the licencee of the Eagle Inn at Stanbury, now known as the Silent Inn.
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Keighley News archives in Keighley Library
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995