Epitaphs of the First World War
Part V

Second Lieutenant James John Tobin.
Credit: Cramm, The First Five Hundred of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, p. 300.

“We gave our son. He gave his all.”

Epitaph of Second Lieutenant James John Tobin, Regimental No. 69, Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 20 November 1917 (age 24).

James enlisted on 2 September 1914 with the Newfoundland Regiment, leaving his $10-per-week job as a barber. He landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli in September 1915. After the evacuation of Commonwealth forces from Suvla Bay in December 1915, he was admitted directly to hospital in England with jaundice. In July 1917 he was married by proxy to a Mrs. Margaret in Quebec City. Just four months later, 2nd Lt. James John Tobin was killed during the Cambrai offensive, leaving behind his new wife and child.

Credit: Provincial Archives Division, The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador. Sourced from Library and Archives Canada, Reference: RG38-A-2-e, Finding Aid 38-27, Reel T-18017, Volume 489, Item Number: 654829, Record Group: Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Forestry Corps, p. 27.

James’ wife was employed in Quebec City as a nurse for the children of a Mr. A.J. Price of the Quebec-based Price Brothers & Co. lumber sawmill and pulp and paper giant. In December 1917, Mr. A.J. Price wrote to the Deputy Colonial Secretary of Newfoundland to inquire “what pension she and her child will get from the Newfoundland Government”, as Mrs. Tobin’s grief was such that she was unable to deal with her late-husband’s affairs.

James’ brother Walter Tobin also enlisted with the Newfoundland Regiment, but survived the war. In 1918, James’ wife moved to live with his mother in Boston, Massachusetts.

Second Lieutenant James John Tobin is buried in Marcoing British Cemetery, Nord, France.

Tobin’s epitaph can be found in McGeer’s Canada’s Dream Shall Be of Them, p. 125. However please note – Tobin is erroneously recorded as James John “Tait”.