Thursday, December 11, 2008

Michael Toman, Preston North End footballer

St Mary's R.C. Church, Cleator, Cumbria.
(Michael Toman was here baptised in December 1913)

Michael Toman, originally from Bowthorn in the West Cumbrian town of Cleator Moor, played for the Preston North End before the Second World War. During the war, Michael served with the 1st Battalion King's (Liverpool) Regiment in the Far East. Private Michael Toman, Service No 14274879, was one of those who gave his life in the war. He lost his life on 13 July 1944 and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, Burma (Myanmar).

Michael Toman is one of more than 100 men and women remembered on the Roll of Honour in his hometown of Cleator Moor, Cumbria. In addition, the Cleator Moor Roll of Honour records more than 250 casualties of the Great War (1914 - 1919). There are two members of the Toman family listed among the Fallen of the First World War. They may be related to Michael as they came from the same district of Cleator Moor.

The members of the Cleator Moor Toman family who died in the First World War were as follows:

Private P. Toman, Service No 44884, 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, died 7 May 1918 age 22;
Private John Toman, Service No 3097, 5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, died 26 May 1915 age 20.

For additional information about Michael Toman, click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Michael Toman was born on 19 December 1913, and was the son of Bernard Toman and Catherine Toman (née Sullivan). Two days later, Michael was baptised at St Mary's R.C. Church, Cleator, the details being entered into the St Mary's Baptismal Register (Entry No 857) by Father J.A. Curran O.S.B. Michael's godparents were John Higgins and Anne Sullivan. The St Mary's Baptismal register also records that on 27 July 1938, Michael Toman married Margaret Cookson (known as 'Peggy') at St Gregory's R.C. Church, Preston.

In 1944, the then Parish Priest of St Mary's, Cleator - Father F.C. Clayton O.S.B. - recorded that Michael had been killed in Burma on 13 July. Having referred to the St Mary's Church Cleator Registers several times in connection with the Cleator Moor Roll of Honour I have found Father Clayton accurate and thorough in his record keeping.

Over many years, I have heard numerous accounts about Father Clayton visiting the families of those who died during the war years. Whether or not they were parishioners of the Catholic Church did not matter. Father Clayton visited the families of the district who were in need of comfort at a time of great loss. Inevitably, Father Clayton must have helped those members of the Toman family still living in Cleator Moor to cope with their sad bereavement.

Thursday, 11 December, 2008  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

On a recent visit to Preston, Lancashire I visited the National Football Museum and Deepdale, Preston North End's ground to find out a little more about Michael Toman. In the mid to late 1930s Preston North End were one of the top clubs in the English Football League, made the F.A. Cup Final in 1937 (when they lost to Sunderland) and also in 1938 (when they won the final).

Michael Toman played as a winger, which was a strongly contested position in the Preston team at the time, and never made the first team. However, he was transferred to Bristol City F.C. (then a lower league club) where he did make the first team before the war broke out.

St Gregory's, the church where Michael Toman married Margaret ('Peggy') Cookson in July 1938 is just around the corner from Deepdale, the Preston North End ground. Standing at the corner of the road in front of the church one can also see the top of the football ground.

Sir Tom Finney, the legedary Preston North End footballer also played largely as a winger. Sir Tom (as he later became) first signed for Preston before WW2 and played for the Under 18s and the Preston NE 'B' team. During the war Tom Finney also served in the Armed Forces and served overseas, although of course played football for the services sides as well.

More or less immediately after the war Tom Finney began his long career in English League Football, playing many times for the England National side. Sir Tom retired from playing professional football at the age of 38. I would presume he would have known Michaal Toman. Although there are many photographs of the Preston players at the Museum, I could not find one that listed Michael Toman.

Sunday, 21 February, 2010  

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