Profiles: Pvt. Thomas Reginald Brockless
Episode appeared in: To The Last Man
Played by: Anthony Lewis
“Take me, I’m in the ward in 1918, you have to take me so I can be here now. Just take me!”
Private Thomas ‘Tommy’ Reginald Brockless, born 7th February 1894 in Bracken, Manchester, served with the 10th West Yorkshire Regiment. He was the only son of Constance May Bassett who died in 1900 and Thomas Campbell Brockless who died aged 57 of a heart attack in June 1931.
Tommy was 24 years of age when he was taken by Torchwood officers Harriet Derbyshire and Gerald Kneale from St Teilo’s Military hospital in Butetown, where he was suffering shell shock, and brought to Torchwood Hub and frozen until he was needed. Although the officers were unable to ascertain when that time might be, due to the level of ‘ghosts’ appearing in the hospital in 1918, Tommy was defrosted every year to be sure he still worked in order to prevent the collapse of the universe caused by the time shift which was allowing portions of 1918 to enter into present day.
Details surrounding Tommy Brockless and the time shift were stored in a rusted metal tin with an inscription reading ‘Eyes Only documents FAO Torchwood Commander Overseeing case 1918 TB.’ A temporal lock on the tin prevented the documents from being read at any other time. When the time shift was activated, the tin unlocked and a white envelope with a sealed Torchwood stamp on the back held a letter containing details that told Captain Jack Harkness what he must do to prepare Tommy for his return to 1918, the documents also included a hand drawn portrait of Toshiko Sato.
In the matter of 24 hours Tommy shared his feelings for Toshiko. “I’d do anything for you.” He tells her over a drink in a pub. They share the night together before Toshiko knows they have to return to the hospital and part company. Tommy takes a Rift Key back into the ward when he steps into 1918, St Teilo’s hospital but as soon as he returns, his mind resets to the nervous soldier suffering from shell shock and he forgets what he has to do with the Key. Owen decides to use Jack as a psychic projection in order to locate Tommy and get him to use the key but Toshiko volunteers. She manages to reach Tommy and encourages him to use the Rift Key.. He does and the time shift closes in 1918 and Tommy saves the world.
Three weeks after Torchwood sent Tommy back to 1918 the British Army executed him by firing squad along with more than 300 other soldiers for cowardice.
In 2006 Pvt. Reginald ‘Tommy’ Brockless was posthumously pardoned.
©BBC Torchwood 2006
To The Last Man episode
Torchwood Definitive Encyclopedia by Gary Russell