Sergeant Tom Willie Quarmby RAMC

Sergeant Tom Willie Quarmby, Royal Army Medical Corps. Service number: 102988.

Sergeant Tom Willie Quarmby

Early life:
Tom Quarmby was born on 4th November 1876 at Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. His parents were Thomas and Emma Quarmby and his birth was registered at Huddersfield.
Tom was later baptised on 16th May 1875, at St. James' Church in Slaithwaite with East Scammonden.
His father Thomas was a power loom tuner and would almost certainly have been working at the nearby Black Rock Mills in 1881 when Tom Willie was just six years of age. His siblings were Norman Varley Quarmby aged 14; Ernest Quarmby aged 12; Emily Quarmby aged 10; Mary Emma Quarmby aged 9; Alice Wood Quarmby aged 4 and Fanny Varley Quarmby at just one year of age.

There were also four other woollen mills within a mile (two kilometres) of their home at Lower Clough, Linthwaite. [A power loom tuner was responsible for setting up the looms in order to keep the warp threads tight for weaving, sometimes they ran a group of weavers and looms as an overlooker.]

By 1891 Tom was 16 years old and living with his parents and seven siblings on Manchester Road in Linthwaite. He was working as a dyer, probably at the Longfield Dye Works, just a few hundred yards from their home.
On 14th August 1892 they were all living at Primrose Cottage when their father died aged 45 years, leaving £62, 10 shillings to his wife Emma.

1905 Ordnance Survey map extract from the National Library of Scotland website, showing where Primrose Cottage was in relation to the Longfield dyeworks

In 1901 Tom was 26 years old and the family were still living at Primrose Cottage during the census which was taken on 31st March of that year. Emma was of course widowed and her eldest daughter Mary Emma was 29, Tom Willie was next eldest at 26 and would have been seen as 'the man of the house.' The four youngest sisters were Alice aged 24, Fanny aged 21, Elizabeth aged 16 and Lucy aged 14. All of them were working in textiles so the household would have had a very reasonable income with five wages coming in. (Mother Emma was actually looking after the house and Alice was 'out of employment' at that time.)
Tom Willie was engaged to Lucy Lavinia Mabel Armitage, a spinster from Slaithwaite and the banns for their marriage were read at Christ Church in Linthwaite on August 11th, 18th and 25th, 1901 and they were married at St James' Church in Slaithwaite on 7th September. Lucy was a 21 year old spinster and Tom was a 26 year old bachelor and his occupation was 'weaver.'
The wedding was notably a joint one because on the same date and at the same church, Tom's sister Alice married a woollen warehouseman called Shaw Dodson of 14, Union Street, Slaithwaite.
They were living at Manchester Road in Linthwaite in 1905 and 82, Clough Road in 1910.

By the 1911 census they were resident at Lowerwood and Tom was employed as a power loom tuner.

War service:

Tom enlisted for service with the Army at Huddersfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire on 2nd October 1915. His home address was 20, Craven Street, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield and he was a month short of his 40th birthday. He was medically examined on the 16th April 1916 and whilst he was tall enough and of a decent physical tone and appearing to be relatively fit and healthy, he was suffering from a variocele on his left side and was graded C2 and declared fit for home service only. He was placed in group 12. His service number was 102988 and he appears to have been granted the rank of corporal immediately and paid as such from that date. He was appointed acting Sergeant with full pay on 2nd February 1917, beginning service with the Royal Army Medical Corps on 16th November 1917 at Keighley War Hospital.

His name appears on the staff list for Keighley War Hospital as a Sergeant in the RAMC and we know he was able to play the flute as he is one of the staff members pictured in their orchestra, in a photograph dated 14th June 1918 and also in an RAMC staff photograph:

An orchestra at the Keighley War Hospital.
Dr J. N. Dobie in the centre, holding the cello and Sergeant Tom Willie Quarmby seated at front left with a flute.

Keighley War Hospital RAMC staff members. Tom Quarmby is the Sergeant seated at left in the second row.

Tom was transferred to RAMC at York for dispersal on 30th June 1919 and to no. 8 Company RAMC at Ripon for demobilization on the 2nd July. He was 42 years of age and his home address at that time was 20, Craven Street, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield. He had served for 3 years and 302 days.
He did not serve overseas so no medals were awarded to him, but he certainly served his country in caring for thousands of wounded soldiers at Keighley War Hospital.

By 1919 Tom and Lucy were still living at 20, Craven Street in Linthwaite where Tom was registered as an absent voter under the qualification 'NM' for Naval/military voter, due to him still serving in the Army at Keighley at that time.

Later life:

Tom and Lucy Quarmby do not appear to have had any children, perhaps as a result of Tom's variocele. They are recorded in the 1939 Register as resident at 36, Fleming House Lane, Huddersfield and Tom was working as a chimney sweep. There is also a mention of him being involved with a first aid post as part of his civilian war service during WW2.

Lucy died on the 23rd October 1945 at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. She was 66 years old. She left £267 15s. 9. to Tom, her husband of 43 years.

Tom died on 6th March 1959 at St Luke's Hospital in Huddersfield. His probate was finalised on 1st May 1959 and he left £2000 6s. 9d. to Fred Quarmby, woollen spinner and Norman Cartwright, a power loom overlooker.

Source information:

Birth, Marriage and Death records.
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
West Yorkshire, England, Tax Valuation, 1910
1891 census
1901 Census
1911 Census
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
British Army WWI Service Records 1914-1920
1939 England and Wales Register
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
Keighley 'War Hospital Echoes,' part of the Herbert A. France Archive held at Keighley Library (archive box BK424.)
Photographs by kind courtesy of Joan Long.
Map extract courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

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