September 12: John Wilder Tomlinson (1918)

In the vestibule at the rear of Epiphany, there is a plague on the wall labeled “In Grateful Recognition of the Fidelity and Loyalty of the Men and Women of Epiphany Parish Who Served the High Cause of Christian Civilization in the Great World War, 1914 – 1918.” Below which are listed 150 names, four with an asterisk indicating they made the ultimate sacrifice. One of those four was John Wilder Tomlinson, who was killed as he made preparations to go to war. Wilder had been baptized at Epiphany at age 16 and his funeral was at the church prior to his interment at Arlington. The autumn issue of the Parish Guide newsletter honored his sacrifice.

Lieut. J. Wilder Tomlinson

The first gold star on our Service Flag denotes the death of Lieut. J. Wilder Tomlinson, at Brooke Aviation Field, Texas, in an aeroplane accident, September 11, 1918. His funeral was conducted in the Church and at Arlington by Dr. McKim, assisted by Rev. Mr. Hall, and there was a full attendance of the surplice choir, and military honors at the grave. This fine young man, full of promise, had been brought up in our Parish, was a communicant, and took part in our activities. His Captain in the air service writes of him to his parents as follows:

“Wilder’s career at ground school and at flying school was a matter of keen interest to me. I took a great deal of pride in the fact that his record was of the highest at ground school and that he was the first of his class at flying school. I had prophesied great things for him, and, if he had lived, I know he would have justified my opinion of him. You know how deep my sympathy is for you and Mr. Tomlinson in this, your greatest bereavement. But to you both has come the honor of the Great Sacrifice. Just as surely as had it been over the enemy’s lines in France, your boy has given his all, bravely and cheerfully, to his country’s cause in this world fight for democracy. The air service is proud of Wilder. He was the true crusader, and it is such as he who will force the barbaric host across the water to their very knees in supplication. In your sacrifice you are honored above the multitude. May the thought of this alleviate your sorrow.”

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