Item preview not available, to access the full image and more information about the item go to Europeana 1914-1918


Reluctant Hero

Skelsmergh Men


    • As the deaths mounted, men were less keen to join up. Tom Blenkhorn was called up in 1916 and was a reluctant soldier. He was an older married man of 38 and he and a friend hoped to fail their medicals by inhaling dust from old beds in a cellar the night before. The ruse did not work and he was passed A1 and drafted into the King’s Liverpool Regiment. He was wounded and captured by the Germans on 22 March, 1918 and died in a German field hospital on 30 March 1918. Tom was the son of Robert and Isabella Blenkhorn who both worked as spinners at the Mealbank Mill and lived first at Summerhow in Skelsmergh, Cumbria and then at School House, Mealbank. Tom was born in Scalthwaiterigg, went to Mealbank school and then worked at the mill but around 1906, after Robert’s death, the family moved to Colne in Lancashire where one of Tom’s brothers had set up a laundry business. In 1911 Tom returned and married Mary Robinson of Scalthwaiterigg Stocks in Skelsmergh church. After he was called up, she returned to her family home and then after the war lived at Woodside Terrace, Mealbank. She remained a widow and was buried in Skelsmergh churchyard in 1968. Tom’s name and dates were added to her gravestone. The family is described in Betty Walker’s book, 'The Green Lanes, a Westmorland Childhood'.





  • Temporal:

    • 2015-04-25 20:38:57 UTC
  • Place/Time:

    • Western Front


  • Source:

    • User contributed content
  • Identifier:

    • 19795
  • Institution:

  • Provider:

  • Providing country:

  • First published in Europeana:

    • 2015-06-17
  • Last updated in Europeana:

    • 2016-07-27

References and relations


  • Place/Time:

    • Western Front
  • Subjects, resource types, genres and forms (Concepts)