Tomkinson, Christopher Charles

He was the son of Major Herbert Tomkinson OBE., TD. DL., (Coll. 1887-1892) and E Phyllis Tomkinson, of Astley, Worcestershire.  He raised books twice and got into Senior Part after two terms at Winchester.  He was a Commoner Prefect in his last year.  He captained his House XI in Eldon Cup, played in a winning Chawker Cup team, stood on dress for Commoner XV and was a keen member of Sailing Club.

He went to Magdalen College, Oxford and obtained a Third Class Honours in History. After Oxford he joined the family carpet manufacturing business of Tomkinson & Adam at Kidderminster.

At Oxford he had been a member of the University Air Squadron and on the outbreak of war joined the RNVR Fleet Air Arm.

In 1941, as a Sub-Lieutenant, he took part in escort duties from Cornwall, and in operations from the Orkneys. On September 2nd 1941, the aircraft which he was flying, a Grumman Martlet III, no.  AX827 suffered an engine failure whilst on a flight from its home base at Lee-on-Solent.  Tomkinson – serving with 881 Squadron – force-landed the aircraft without injury or damage.

Next year he was flying Martlets (better known as ‘Wildcats’) with 881 Squadron from HMS Illustrious, and over the next couple of years took part in attacks on Brest, Madagascar and Diego Suarez.     In 1943, after a brief period as an instructor, and now a Lieutenant-Commander, he became OC 1836 Squadron, flying Corsairs, on which he trained in America. In May 1944 his Squadron joined HMS Victorious and took part in attacks on the Tirpitz and the coast of Norway.   In July 1944, Victorious transferred to the Far East, and the squadron attacked the Nicobar Islands and, on January 24th 1945, the important Palembang oil refineries as part of Operation Meridian.

Tomkinson was lost when leading his squadron against airfields on the island of Okinawa whilst flying Corsair JT552 (‘T8A’).

Twenty-eight when he died, Tomkinson is commemorated in bay 6, panel 2, of the Lee-on-Solent Memorial.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Tomkinson
  • Forenames or initials: Christopher Charles
  • House: E
  • Years in School: 1930-1935
  • Rank: Lieutenant Commander
  • Regiment: Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • Date of Birth: 14th September 1916
  • Date of Death: 26th March 1945
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner G2
  • Decoration: DSC
  • Burial Site: Commemorated on Bay 6, Panel 2 of the Lee on Solent Memorial