Thursday 17 February 2022



Clerk Ventnor District Council - Isle of Weight
NALGO (now Unison) member
Royal Field Artillery
1st/5th Hants Bty.
Died 5 May 1916
Kut-el-Amara - Prisoner of War


ISLE OF WIGHT MERCURY Friday, July 14, 1916 Page 1 The news circulated on Saturday that Lieut. W. Tozer, Town Clerk of Ventnor, had died of disease caused profound sorrow in the town. The only ray of hope is that the information is unofficial. Some time ago reassuring news was received of his recovery from wounds received in action, and when the Kut-el-Amara garrison surrendered after terrible privations satisfaction was expressed that for the time being at least he was safe. On Saturday last, however, Mr. H. Hughes Oakes, the acting Town Clerk and Lieutenant Tozer's closest friend for several years, received a letter (containing the following copy of a communication received from the Exeter Administration Centre) from Miss M. Tozer, sister of the gallant officer: - [COPY] Sir, - it is my painful duty to inform you that a report has this day been received from the War Office as follows: - It has been officially reported that Lieut. W. Tozer, 1/5th Hants Battery, R.F.A., died of disease as prisoner of war (date unknown) on steamer en route to Bagdad. Source of information was semi-official letter from Major General C.J. Mollis to General Sir Percy Lake. Should any further information be received you will at once be notified. - Major, Exeter Administration Centre. It is significant that Lieut. Tozer has not been officially reported as a prisoner of war, neither has he communicated with his friends since April. ___ The sad intelligence was referred to at the meeting of the Ventnor District Council on Monday, a report of which appears elsewhere. Lieut. Tozer had been Town Clerk of Ventnor since April 27th, 1908, until the mobilization of his Battery on the outbreak of war. He was 34 years of age. Before coming to Ventnor he was clerk and accountant to the Rothwell (Northants) District Council, and held a commission as Lieutenant in the Northants Volunteer Regiment. At the time of his first appointment, Lieut. Tozer was, we believe, the youngest Town Clerk in England. He performed his duties at Ventnor with characteristic courtesy and great ability. What is more he took an energetic part in the life of the town apart from his official duties, although he never subordinated these for any ulterior object. ___ He did excellent work for the "Ventnor Week" a few years ago, and was most active in the enterprise for securing the Band of the Royal Fusiliers which played with such favour on the Pier and Cliffs in 1913-14. Just before the outbreak of war his efforts contributed in no small measure to the success of the visit of Foreign Editors to Ventnor. In the carnivals, too, and indeed in everything that tended to bring the town to public notice, Lieut. Tozer spared no effort, and in him the town had a most loyal and conscientious official. ___ He was the Senior Warden of the Yarborough Lodge of Freemasons, and would have been elected to the highest position at the disposal of the Lodge last year but for his absence on military duty. The members were eagerly anticipating his return home. In private life Lieut. Tozer was much esteemed for his sound qualities and to many he was a staunch and loyal friend.

Further Information

Born 1882, Merthyr Tydfil, the son of Thomas and Emma Tozer of Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.

Census information :

1891 : Thomas and Emma Tozer, with their children including William aged 8, are at 96 Church Street, Merthyr Tydfil. Thomas Tozer is a Loco Coal Man.

1901 : Thomas and Emma Tozer, with their children including William aged 18, are at 1 Church Street, Merthyr Tydfil. Thomas Tozer is a Gardener; William Tozer is a Solicitor's Clerk.

1911 : William Tozer, aged 28, is a Boarder with Mrs Bessie Lake, at Navarino, St Boniface Road, Ventnor. William Tozer is Town Clerk, Urban District Council. Also a Boarder is Henry Hughes Oakes, Surveyor, Urban District Council.

Service Details :

Lt William Tozer, 4th Hants Howitzer Battery, Royal Field Artillery (TF).

Casualty details :

Died 16 May 1916, aged 34, of disease incurred while a prisoner of war.

Commemorated at Basra Memorial, Iraq.