Private 16588 John Arthur Abbiss

Abbiss John 96 400x600Picture of grave of John Arthur Abbiss
Photograph courtesy of Great Niece, Keren Harrold. Further photograph at bottom of page.

Died of Wounds on Tuesday, 10th September 1918, age 23.
Buried in Grave V. E. 20. at Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

4th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 88th Brigade of 29th Division.
Formerly 16588 1st Worcestershire Regiment.

Son of James and Elizabeth Ann Abbiss, of 12, Horseley Rd., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 12th January 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/19300/

Genealogical Data

Birth of John Arthur Abbiss registered June quarter 1895 at Dudley.

1901 Census
51 Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
James Abbiss (40, Plumber and Water Mains Layer, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth Ann (39, born Tipton), and their 7 children: James Alfred (15, Telegraph Messenger, born Tipton), Henry (13, Railway News Boy, born Oldbury), Albert Edgar (12, born Oldbury), Francis Ernest (9, born Oldbury), William Edwin (8, born Oldbury), John Arthur (6, born Oldbury), and Mabel Elizabeth (2, born Oldbury).

1911 Census
Castle View, Horseley Road, Tipton, Staffs.
James Abbiss (49, Pavior - brick, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (48, born Tipton), and 5 of their 7 children: Henry (23, General Labourer, born Oldbury), Albert Edgar (22, Iron Founder, born Tipton), Francis Ernest (19, Clerk, born Tipton), John Arthur (16, Grocer's Apprentice, born Tipton), and Mabel Elizabeth (12, born Tipton).

Personal Data

When Pte. John Abbiss died, he was serving with the 4th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. When John landed in France in January 1915, the 4th Worcesters were still in transit from Burma back to England; John's initial service was with the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment (source: Medal Roll).

The 1st Battalion had been re-called from Cairo immediately at the outbreak of war, landing in Liverpool on 16th October 1914, and then landing at Le Havre, France, on 6th November. As John first landed in France on 12th January 1915, he would have been a reinforcement for the 1st Worcesters. It is likely that he was either a 'Special Reservist" or an existing member of the Territorial Forces, as Kitchener volunteers did not land in France so early in the war. No record of his Abbiss's service survives, but he saw over 3½ years service with the Worcesters, finishing with the 4th Worcesters in 29th Division.

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £10/2/1d (10 pounds, 2 shillings and 1 penny); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Elizabeth A., in February 1919. His War Gratuity was £18/10/0d (18 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his mother in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

In August 1918 the Germans were in retreat although showing resolute resistance in their withdrawal. On 1st September, the 4th Worcesters were near Neuve Eglise and involved in the pursuit of Germans into the Lys Valley. Their involvement continued until 5th September when they were relieved after the successful capture of Hill 63.

It is likely that at some stage of this action that Pte Abbiss was wounded and, after being transported through the casualty evacuation chain, died from his wounds in the Casualty Clearing Station at St. Omer on 10th September 1918. He is buried in the Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery at St. Omer.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 15th September 1917
Tipton wounded.
L/C J. Abbiss Worcs.

Abbiss John Scroll 96
Photograph of the scroll which accompanied John Abbiss's 'Death Plaque'.