Those who returned
Ekins, Thomas Arbuthnot. Pte M2/082272 Royal Army Service Corps and later 321086 Royal Flying Corps.
Those who returned
The following was provided by one of his sisters grand daughters
Thomas Arbuthnot Ekins (known as Tot) born on 1st November 1898 in Boston in Lincolnshire. His parents were Rev George Richard Ekins, who was vicar of Kirklevington between 1913 and 1916, and Beatrice Emma Ekins (nee Mitchinson), who was a great-niece of Sir John Franklin (the Arctic explorer). Thomas had two elder brothers Franklin George born in 1897 and Willingham Richard born in 1898. The first of three daughters Susan Annie Lilian was born there in 1901. The family moved to London where Sarah Elizabeth was born in 1905. A move to 21 Nunthorpe Avenue, York and Lucinda Jane was born in 1909.
His father, Rev George Richard Ekins was born in 1861 in Silgo Co Durham in Ireland son of a priest and moved to London where he met Rev Henry Clarke Mitchinson who was born in Lincolnshire in 1828 and was a priest at Christ Church in Southwalk in Rotherhithe and chaplain of Rotherhithe workhouse. Rev Mitchinson had two daughters living with him at the time, Catherine Ann born in 1865 and Beatrice Emma born in 1866 and realising the importance of education sent his two daughters to boarding school in West Ham. They lost their mother Emma Maria Mitchinson (nee Franklin) in 1871 but Henry remarried on 17th April 1873. Emma’s father James Franklin was a Major in the 1st Bengal Cavalry. Henry’s second wife, Caroline Hogarth was born in Mile End in 1825. Thomas’s father, George, married Beatrice in 1890 at Christ Church. It must have been a joyous occasion as seven people signed to witness the marriage including her step mother and sister. They moved to Hagworthingham in Lincolnshire and then in 1913 to Kirklevington church where they remained for 3 years when they moved to St Timothy’s in Crookes, Sheffield in 1916.
Tot’s sister, Sara Elisabeth Parfitt (nee Ekins), wrote various notes and recollections of her childhood in her later years.
“How I loved that village. Church. Vicarage & above all the garden. Certain smells take me back to that garden. It was large, had a kitchen garden as well as a kitchen cobbled yard, a front garden + 2 lawns & an orchard. Stables + my father’s horse + my mother’s pony-trap – how we loved that pony, riding it bare-backed in the orchard, catching the branches of the apple trees!
The 3 boys were off early August 1914 to join up & came back & told the parents. Life now changed.”
If she is right that they went to sign up in August all 3 boys were under 18 the minimum age for enlistment in the regular army.
She goes on:
“He enlisted in Yarm with his two brothers. Tot, very under age, was first of all a Transport Driver, later in the Royal Flying Corps which became the RAF.”
He signed up in Yarm with his two brothers. Tot survived the war and enlisted in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and became a Barrack Defence Officer in Drumcolloghre in Co Limerick. This is not altogether surprising as his father was Irish born in Enniskillin in 1862. He then joined the Auxillary Division of Royal Irish Constabulary in 1921 with service numbers 1545 and then 1723. The same year he married Mabel CF White in her home parish in Hendon. In 1922 he retired from the RIC and joined the Indian Police sailing for Bombay (now Mumbai) on 21st September 1923. He was then murdered on 7th February 1926 at Peshawar while serving in the Indian Police Force.
St Peters, York School magazine printed a moving obituary in the April 1926 edition. His WW1 experience was described as;
“When 16 years of age, with his father’s consent he enlisted in the Motor Transport and served for two years in France, chiefly with the Lahore Division until he obtained a commission in the R.F.C. now R.A.F., which he held until demobilised in 1919.”
Below is a photograph of Thomas second left with his brothers and father.
Yarm 1914 Research
The Yarm 1914 Commemoration Group is carrying out research on the soldiers listed. We are finding where they lived in Yarm and will represent the findings in a wall of poppies presentation. More details will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and this web site. If you have any information please contact us. Left click on the picture below.