John Ralph Tillotson: 1884– [Heath 1892–1893]

John Tillotoson was one of two brothers who were killed, one in the German Spring offensive and the other in the Low Moor Munitions Factory, Bradford.

Head and shoulders of John Tillotson
John Tillotson

He was born in 1884, the second child and first son of John W and Alice Tillotson; he had nine siblings. His father was a carpet manufacturer, formerly of Whitegate House in Siddal. They had three servants. He went to Heath from to and left to become an apprentice, presumably in his father’s firm. At some point he left England to serve in the Natal Mounted Police for two years but, at the time of his enlistment, he was living at 2 Gypsie Road, Welling, and working as an Inspector for the South Metropolitan Gas Company.

Service history: he enlisted on at Plumstead aged 30. His height was 6'1". This is a few days after Britain entered the war. He was No. 681 initially but then renumbered 965283 8th London (Howitzer) Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery (Territorial unit). He spent some time with the 21st County of London Battery as a gunner. He was promoted to Corporal on and joined the BEF in France on the . He was wounded by a shell on . He was promoted to Sergeant on .

Fate: He died in the 3rd Canadian Hospital, Doullens, France, on from a gun shot wound in the chest received the previous day. He is buried at Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension. His brother, Guy Langford Tillotson, had been killed in the explosion at the Low Moor Munitions Factory in . He was working there as a chemist. The two brothers both feature in Yellow Poppies by Barbara Reardon and Mary Twentyman.1

With thanks to David Millichope

1 Reardon, Barbara and Twentyman, Mary (2016) Yellow Poppies. The Dead and those who received honours as a result of the 1916 Low Moor Munitions Explosion Bradford: Low Moor Local History Group