Private 313798 John Biddulph

Biddulph John 96 400x600

Died on Tuesday, 12th November 1918, age 32.
Buried in Grave C. Ded. 44. at Tipton Cemetery, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.

Labour Corps.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

Never served abroad.
Medal entitlement: No medal entitlement.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

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/395334/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
21 Hopkins Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Biddulph (46, Saw Mill Labourer, born Birmingham), his wife Sarah (49, born Birmingham), and their 2 children: Alfred (17, Telegraph Messenger, born Birmingham), and John (15, Tailor's Errand Boy, born Tipton).

1911 Census
19 Hope Terrace, Whitehouse Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Biddulph (58, General Labourer, born Birmingham), his wife Sarah (60, born Birmingham), and 2 of their 4 children: Alfred (26, Postman, born Birmingham), and John (25, General Labourer, born Tipton).

Personal Data

The Discharge Papers for John Biddulph show that he enlisted on the 17th July 1917, and in August was posted to the 359th Reserve Employment Company of the Labour Corps in the Scottish Command in Blairgowrie, and then to the 462nd Home Service Company.

Soldiers generally arrived in the Labour Corps after injury or sickness made them unfit for further infantry service. John was drafted directly into the Labour Corps which meant that he must have been inherently physically unfit.

His discharge papers state that he was 31 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He was employed as a Labourer, and his address on discharge was 18 Hope Terrace, Whitehouse Street, Tipton. His Military character was "Good", and he was "Sober and honest, his disability aggravated by Military Service."

His medical examination reported: "Inflammation of the stomach, originating in 1907. Gradual onset with severe pain after taking his food. The pain lasts about ten minutes and is worse after taking meat. There is no vomiting." His general physical condition appeared poor: "The cheeks are drawn and the face is pale. He looks older than he is, and is emaciated. He says he has lost weight and he looks light. The heart is quickened on exercise, the pulse soft and irregular. He has only got one good tooth in his mouth, the others are decayed. His eyesight is defective."

Despite his poor physical condition, it was stated that his disability was not permanent, and the degree of disablement for pension purposes be assessed at less than 20%. He was allowed 27 shillings and six pence (probably per month) for a period of 9 months.

Unfortunately John did not last for nine months, he died on the day following the Armistice, 12th November 1918, and is buried in Tipton Cemetery.

After John's death, he had no outstanding army pay and allowances. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was paid to his father, Alfred, in July 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

John's health never did appear to be robust, and he was never thought fit enough to serve overseas. He served for a short time on Home Service but was discharged, it was recorded that his disability was aggravated by Military Service.

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