Hurst War Memorial, St.Nicholas Church, Hurst, Berkshire
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Tomkinson, Antony

1939 - 1945 Star
1939 - 1945
1939 - 1945 War Medal
1939 - 1945
War Medal
Flying Officer Antony Tomkinson (62286)
Died on Saturday 25th April 1942, aged 21
501 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of James Edward and Marion Lindsay Palmer-Tomkinson, of Inkpen, Berkshire.
Commemorated:Runnymede Memorial
Panel 67.

Antony Palmer-Tomkinson was born in 1921 to James and Marion Tomkinson and was the youngest of four children. In 1933 the family inherited Wanlip Hall and estate in Leicestershire from an Aunt on condition that her surname of Palmer was included in their own. During the Second World War the family were living in Hurst Lodge and Antony Palmer-Tomkinson was serving in the RAF.

By 1942 Antony was a Spitfire pilot in 501 Squadron, part of 10 Group, Fighter Command, operating out of Middle Wallop, Hampshire. On 25th April 1942 501 Squadron took part in a fierce air battle over the French coast which involved aircraft from several squadrons. The operation, named Circus 137, used a flight of 36 Douglas Boston bombers to lure the enemy fighters into combat. The bombing operation for this Circus was wide ranging, with targets as far apart as the Abbeville marshalling yards, Morlaix airfield and Cherbourg, Le Havre and Dunkirk harbours. Of the complement of 36 Boston bombers, 29 delivered their bombs and 2 failed to return.

Two Luftwaffe squadrons, JG26 and JG2, scrambled from their bases in Northern France and engaged the RAF fighters around 16:00 over the French coast near Pas de Calais. Within a short time the German fighters shot down fifteen aircraft with most of them crashing into the English Channel. This included four Spitfires of 501 Squadron which were shot down by Messerschmitt 109s over Cherbourg. One of these Spitfires, No. W3894, was flown by Antony Palmer-Tomkinson. Antony was reported as missing during an operational flight in The Times of 1st May 1942 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

From Sue Banks:

Thank you so much for what you put on the War memorial site about my maternal grandfather, William Postlethwaite. I have emailed my brother and my cousin with the link, so they can read about our maternal grandfather.

I can also add some info about Anthony Palmer-Tomkinson.

My paternal grandfather was William McMinn. He was working at Hoddam Castle near Annan in Scotland when he got married in 1925. As under-footman, he was called "George" - because the under-footman was always called George!

He moved to work for Captain James Edward Tomkinson, as butler/valet, shortly after his marriage. Mrs. Palmer was an aunt of Captain Tomkinson. When she died, she left him an estate in Leicestershire, near Melton Mowbray, called Wanlip, on condition that he appended Palmer to his name.

When my father and his brothers were born in Hurst, Lord & Lady Palmer-Tomkinson were at Hurst Lodge, and my grandfather was still their butler. My grandmother had been their cook until she had children.

William McMinn worked Hurst Lodge, until 1949, The address in Hurst was Hurst Lodge Cottages. Now, the cottages were known as 1 & 2 New Cottages, Broadcommon Lane.

In 1949, the McMinns moved to "Totterdown" in Inkpen, Berkshire, continuing to work for the Palmer-Tomkinsons, and living at 2 New Cottages, Inkpen.

Judging by the memorial, it would suggest that the Palmer-Tomkinsons moved out to Inkpen during the war, although I know my grandparents didn't go until 1949. I suppose it depends when the WW2 casualties were put on the memorial.



They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon