316th engineers division
1894 - 1918
Tomlinson was born in Toppenish, Washington, in the year 1894. He is the son of Myrtle Baxter (nee Gilbert) and Winchester H. Tomlinson. He only had his mother, whom was remarried two times: originally to Winchester H. Tomlinson, then to E.D. Baxter. The reason that she remarried is still unknown. He attended Camp Lewis, in Washington, before he set out for New Jersey. There, he went to Camp Merritt. When he went to these camps is unknown. In New York, on March 16, 1918, John Tomlinson boarded the 509 steamship and set sail for Europe, for the war. He was in the 316th engineers, nicknamed the “Wild West” division. He sailed only for 10 days before he fell sick, and eventually died of pneumonia. They gave him a short memorial, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, before tossing him overboard as to not infect other soldiers. To this day, alike many other soldiers, John Tomlinson’s body was never found, having been lost at sea.
This US Army Transport Service passenger list is from March 16, 1918. When John Tomlinson set sail for Europe. His name, regiment, service number and mother are listed.
This is a marriage return sheet. From it you can see that Myrtle Baxter (nee Gilbert) had been married twice; her first husband, Winchester H. Tomlinson, was John Tomlinson’s father.
This is a copy of a “The Toppenish Review” newspaper article. It talks about John Tomlinson, his death, and role in the army.
This is a picture of a video. The 316th engineers were removing unexploded bombs and repairing a railroad track in Waereghen. Though this happened in Europe, after John Tomlinson died, it is his regiment and we have an idea of what he would’ve been doing in the war, had he lived.
Link: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/24775 (clip 10, scroll down to “Scope and Content” for description)