TA Packman Career Description

Packman TA Career Description 1
Packman TA Career Description 2
Packman TA Career Description 3

For Dulwich

Tom shot at Bisley in 1913, & we have the photo of the group with that date below.

He left Dulwich July 1913, & went to Engineering College, City & Guilds where he was in the O.T.C. In July 1914 Tom went to France to Monsieur [Beaupris??], Inspector of Factories under French Government & their son came to us, we did not give him enough money to return, as dear boy he was so fond of home that we thought he would return on the slightest pretext. Being supposed to be a “son” as their boy was here, we understood they would advance any money suddenly required – No – France declared War, & Tom knew his place was England, he had little if any money, & even the British Consul would only lend 20/. But he was like one transformed & getting a ticket for “mendicant Anglais” which I still hold, he got back by cattle trucks etc. Then England joined in, & France literally embraced him, & he gradually arrived at French Coast. [2] He got to London & at once reported himself for the Special Reserve, on 1st or 2nd day of Declaration given. He got his Commission 15th Aug. 1914 – & details in paper, read – please. He was promoted full Lieutenant June 1915. He had often been O.C. of Ammunition Column & was in charge, many times till July 1916. He always worked in R.H.A. but not wishing to continue in army after peace he was called R.F.A. & paid only R.F.A. although he did exactly same work as R.H.A. This is a downright shame, & grieved him much. He was in charge of Trench Mortar when killed. His duty was to pop up & observe firing, when the bang went off, believing the Germans would then duck, but a special sniper, who is supposed to have killed Col. & 6 officers on same day, shot him, bullet grazing the strap on right shoulder & entering towards left – death thus not a painfully long one. This was on Sept. 9th & he was buried at Vermelles on 11th, with the honours you need on paper. Where he was actually fighting I don’t know, he was I know near [Lareute?] after the push of July 1st. [3]

I think this is a long enough letter, anything else, of course, I shall be glad to find.

Letters I have from Mr. Gilkes, as Tom thought Dulwich the best school the world & his master the best. A letter from Mr. Sweet-Escott & from his major who is now Lt. Col. & on his way to India. No father did more for any boy for the time than Lt. Col. Montague Cooke did for our boy. His letter is somewhat private, as he evidently thought our boy had had his share of arduous & dangerous work, but if you wish for a read, I will send it to you.

The new grave tilled, I planted [elm?] trees on his grave, & his servant of 12 months tells us how Tom would not allow him to accompany him, saying “you have a wife & children, I’ll be all right.”

Thanking you very much, & very deeply appreciating your labour of love.

Yours very truly

[V.?] Packman