The Royal Regiment Of Fusiliers Museum (Warwickshire)

St John's House, Warwick, CV34 4NF

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Brigadier CT Tomes CBE, DSO, MC

Clement Thurstan Tomes was born in 1882 at Allhabad, India, son of Surgeon Lt Colonel A Tomes of the Indian Medical Service. He was educated at Marlborough and Sandhurst, joining the 4th Battalion at Peshawar and took part in the Mohmand operations on the NW Frontier in 1908 becoming adjutant in 1910. During that time he won a name for himself as a 1st class shot, winning many Army in India prizes for musketry and training a highly successful Regimental team. In 1912, he married in Bombay, Gladys Newall, sister of Cyril Newall a subaltern in the Regiment, who was later to join the Royal Flying Corps and become Marshal of the RAF Lord Newall. "Monty" was in the 1st Battalion at that time and they became close friends, though he was not uncritical of the Field Marshal's early years and had many amusing anecdotes to tell.

Back in England in 1914 at the outbreak of war, he went with the Battalion to France. He was wounded twice, at Meteren and the 2nd Battle of Ypres. He spent the whole of WWI in France except for a spell in Northern Italy with the British force sent to help the Italians after the disastrous Battle of Caporetto. He was awarded the DSO, MC and Legion of Honour and was three times Mentioned in Despatches. After the war he was Brigade Major at Lichfield and Shorncliffe and also for a time served in the Sudan during unrest there in the mid-1920s, and then again returned to India and to the 2nd Battalion.

Later, he was 2nd in Command of the 1st Battalion before taking over Command from Lt Col C R Macdonald. Whilst at Shorncliffe, being a keen horseman, he became Master of the Garrison Drag Hounds, the Regiment also supplying the huntsmen and whips.

The Battalion moved to Woking in 1928 as part of the "experimental" newly mechanised Brigade in the Aldershot Command. His tenure as CO is well illustrated by an extract from Nigel Hamilton's "Monty" vol 1, which was contributed by a subaltern then serving in Tomes' Battalion.

"....Lt Col Tomes who succeeded Macdonald was also a man of the highest principles, known as "Old Smoulders" in the Regiment owing to the eternal pipe. Like Macdonald, Tomes drew respect by his quiet dignity and care, when junior subalterns found themselves learning drill with the Lance Corporals under the RSM he would call them quietly into his office and ask them if they knew why they were doing such tedious square bashing, having gained their first pips. "To show the men you can do it" he would point out gently."

In 1931 he was promoted Colonel and became Assistant Adjutant General at the War Office and in 1935 appointed Brigadier i/c Administration HQ British Troops in Egypt. He retired in the spring of 1939 but was recalled on the outbreak of war in September and went to France as Deputy Adjutant General 2nd Echelon BEF. After Dunkirk, he served in Northern Command before retiring finally in 1941 and being awarded the CBE. Throughout the rest of the war he was, as Colonel of the Regiment, to which he had been appointed in 1935, closely involved with Regimental affairs in a greatly expanded army, keeping in touch with the old and new battalions and the families of those who were casualties or POWs. He published a booklet on Military Customs and Origins, a subject in which he had an abiding interest, sold for the benefit of the Red Cross POW Fund.

His family has been associated with Warwickshire for many years. Records show that the family has owned land near Stratford-upon-Avon since the 14th Century, and it was the family house in Long Marston where his direct ancestor John Tomes sheltered a disguised King Charles II after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

His son and two grandsons served in the Regiment. His wife died in 1948 and he married secondly Clare, widow of LT Col 'Tommy' Taylor, another Royal Warwick, who had commanded the 2nd Battalion. He was devoted to the Regiment and was steeped in its history and traditions. His sympathetic attitude and good nature will long be remembered by many of the 6th. By the common consent of all who served with him, he was one of the best loved and respected Colonels in our history.