CWG: Saddler Tom Rawlings

Saddler Tom Rawlings

Tom Hallett Walter Rawlings was born in 1896, the eldest of six children (and only son) to Walter and Jane Rawlings. Dorset-born Walter had worked as a carpenter and a groom, and Tom had joined him as a stable lad by the time of the 1911 census.

By the time he enlisted in July 1915, Tom’s work with all things equine helped land him a role in the Royal Army Service Corps as a Saddler. His role was backed up as he had previously been apprenticed to Ernest Cottle, a saddler in Blandford, Dorset.

Initially he worked on the Home Front, but he was posted to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in January 1916, as part of the 1st Company.

Saddler Rawlings’ time overseas was brief; within three months of being shipped overseas he had contracted phthisis (also known as tuberculosis), and he was sent home for treatment on 22nd April 1916.

His health reached the point where he was discharged as being medically unfit on 12th June, and within a matter of weeks, Tom has passed away.

Tom Hallett Walter Rawlings died on 20th June 1916; he was 19 years old. He lies at rest in the cemetery of his home town, Sherborne.

Tom’s father Walter also entered the army as worked in the Royal Army Service Corps. While records of his military career are not immediately evident, it seems that he survived the war, although he may have been discharged in 1919 having fallen ill with malaria.

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