Aylmer Erling Tomlinson is my fifth cousin, three times removed. He was born in 1897 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. According to the 1911 Census he was living at Cabin Hill, Clumber Park, Worksop. Special thanks are owed to Trevor Higgins for writing the following text:-
Aylmer was a member of the 1/4 Loyal Lancaster Regiment, which was tasked to join other battalions in the attack on Pilkem Ridge, part of the assault at Passchendaele. The area was a complete quagmire after heavy rain, in which artillery bombardment had destroyed the drainage system of the area. The front was heavily defended by German forces, in particular their artillery.
The rain had eased during the early hours of the 31st July, and the decision was made to launch the attack at 3.50 am. The ridge extended from the outskirts of Ypres south east towards the Menin Road and ran for some 12 miles. The Lancashires attacked at a point south of Zonnebeke, and were severely hampered by unbroken wire, well entrenched pill boxes and mud which was knee deep. Gains were made up to lunchtime, but deteriorating weather conditions caused the British to halt and dig in as best they could. They were subjected to a fierce bombardment from the Germans during late afternoon, followed by counter attacks. The British line held, but no further advance was made, and they were compelled to hold their position until better weather.
The cost was enormous and some 400000 soldiers were dead or missing. Aylmer was one of them and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate.
This is a revised version of a post which was originally published on my WordPress Blog on 04/01/2010 and republished on Mollekin Portalite on 16/05/2011.