Private 14/1205 John Thomas Buxton

 Buxton John 96 422x600

Died of Wounds on Thursday, 3rd May 1917, age 26.
Buried in Grave VI. E. 35. at Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., York & Lancaster Regiment. 16th Brigade of 6th Division.

Born: Great Bridge, Enlisted: Barnsley, Resident: Barnsley.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial, but commemorated on St. John the Baptist Church Memorial, Church Street, Royston, Barnsley.
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/62352/

Genealogical Data

Marriage of Clara Hill and James Buxton registered in September quarter 1890 at Dudley.

1891 Census
12 Gough Buildings, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Clara Buxton (33, Head, born Tipton), and her 4 children from her first marriage: John T. Hill (13, born Tipton), Annie Hill (9, born Tipton), Harriet Hill (5, born Tipton), Clara Hill (8, born Tipton), and her son from her second marriage James Buxton (4 months, born Tipton).

1901 Census
52 Sheepwash Lane, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
James Buxton (41, Coal Miner - Loader, born Tipton), his wife Clara (43, born Tipton), and their 8 children: John (23, born Tipton), Amy (19, born Tipton), Harriet (15, born Tipton), James (10, born Tipton), William (8, born Tipton), Moses (5, born Tipton), Leah (2, born Tipton), and Joseph (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
Rowland Street, Royston, Barnsley, Yorks.
John Thomas Buxton (33, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Tipton), his wife Annie (27, born West Bromwich), and their 3 surviving children of 4: Clara (5, born Royston), Thomas (3, born Royston), and Annie (1, born Royston).

Two further children were born, Elizabeth in 1912 and Frances in 1916.

Personal Data

John Buxton was born John Hill, but took his step-father's name after his mother re-married in 1890. He moved to Yorkshire soon after the 1901 census, as he married Annie George in 1903 in Barnsley.

John enlisted with the 14th Bn. Yorks and Lancs, known as the 2nd Barnsley Pals, on 15th May 1915. He was 37 years of age, 5 feet 4½ inches tall with a 34½-inch chest, and signed his enlistment form with " 'X' the mark of". He was employed as a miner, and his religion was stated as Church of England.

The Barnsley Pals were part of the 31st Division, probably the most famous Pals Division. They were sent to Egypt in December 1915 as defence for the Suez Canal, before transferring to France in March 1916. On 1st July 1916, the First Day of the Somme, the 31st Division attacked Serre where the Barnsley Pals were the second line to attack Serre following the Accrington Pals and Sheffield City Battalions. On the day 4 Officers and 88 Other Ranks were killed, with another 8 dying of wounds in the next week.

It appears that John was seriously wounded as he was transported back to the UK where he remained for 6 months. He was considered fit to return to France on 2nd January 1917 when he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Yorks and Lancs, in 6th Division.

Action resulting in his death

On his return to the Western Front in January 1917, John was posted to the 2nd battalion, Yorks and Lancs in 6th Division in the Loos area of French Flanders. Most of the early part of 1917 was relatively peaceful until March and April 1917 when the Germans began withdrawing to the Hindenburg Line. On 13th April 1917 the Germans began withdrawing from their positions in front of the 2nd Yorks and Lancs, the battalion was ordered to closely follow up the German withdrawal. The 2nd Battalion followed so closely that they completely occupied all the German positions by 6pm. During the next four days the division advanced so rapidly that they almost managed to capture Hill 70 (a strategically important German position) before the Germans strengthened their resistance.

It is not certain on what date John was wounded, it may have been during the pursuit or when the advance had come to a halt, but John Buxton was wounded and probably treated at the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station in Bethune. He died from his wounds on 3rd May, and he is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery.

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