Lance Corporal 8610 John Thomas Devison

 Devison John 96 464x600

Died of Wounds on Saturday, 25th September 1915, age 27.
Commemorated on Panel 101 and 102 of Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps. 2nd Brigade of 1st Division.

Brother of Mr W. Devison, of 148, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Oldbury, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 23rd February 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Peter's, Greets Green Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on Commonwealth War Graves site.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/731268/

Genealogical Data

Birth of John Thomas Devison registered June quarter 1888 in West Bromwich.

1891 Census
23 Littlefields, Oldbury, Worcs.
William Devison (29, Brickyard Labourer, born Horseley Heath) and Margarite (age 28, born Swan Village), and their 5 children: Lizzie (8, School, born Greets Green), William (5, School, born Greets Green), John (2, born Oldbury), Ann (15 months, born Oldbury), and Ada (1 month, born Oldbury).

Both parents died in the 1890's (Margaret in 1894 and William in 1897). William seems to have been 'adopted' by Thomas Devison who was most probably his Uncle.

1901 Census
38 Vernon Street, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Thomas Devison (40, Canal Boatman, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (38, born West Bromwich), plus 6 children from the first marriages of Thomas and Elizabeth, 1 child from their own marriage, plus John T. Devison (12, Adopted Son, born West Bromwich).

No trace of John Devison on 1911 Census. As he witnessed the Delhi Durbar to celebrate the coronation of the King, he would have been in India with the King's Royal Rifles in 1911.

Personal Data

John Devison is commemorated on the Salem Chapel Memorial. The only obvious Tipton connection is that his brother William's Tipton address is shown on the CWGC 'Roll of Honour', there is no evidence that he ever lived in Tipton.

After John's death his outstanding Army pay and allowances amounted to £17/2/7d (17 pounds, 2 shillings and 7 pence); in October 1917 this was distributed equally between his sisters Elizabeth Bowring, Annie Waterhouse, Ada Banner, and sister-in-law Ada Devison. John's War Gratuity amounted to £6/0/0d (6 pounds exactly), this was paid to his sister Annie Waterhouse in November 1919.

A Dependant's Pension was granted to John's foster mother, Mrs Elizabeth Ann Devison. This was initially 4/6d (4 shillings and 6 pence) per week from 27th March 1917, increasing to 5/0d (5 shillings) per week from 6th November 1918. Her address was stated as 6a Cape Street, Greets Green, West Bromwich.

Action resulting in his death

The 2nd Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps, was one of the four Battalions of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division. At the commencement of the Battle of Loos, the 1st Division was to attack from the east of Vermelles eastwards towards Hulluch. The Division’s left flank was on the Vermelles to Hulluch road with (from north to south) 8th Royal Berkshires and 10th Gloucesters of 1st Brigade, and 1st Loyal North Lancashires (1/LNL) and 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps (2/KRRC) of 2nd Brigade facing mainly south-east. Their line formed a slight east-facing salient to the 15th Division on their right flank; this caused a problem when their own gas blew back at them, and the gas released on the neighbouring 15th Division front drifted north causing about 200 casualties for both the 2/KRRC and 1/LNL.

The majority of the 2/KRRC men affected were the first wave, so it was the second wave who opened the assault 4 minutes late, at 06.34am. They were badly affected by German machine guns in front of the German lines, and also by wide belts of barbed wire which had not been destroyed. The battalion was force to retire in order to re-organise.

It was only after successful attacks by neighbouring and reserve units that the 2nd Brigade was able to advance in the afternoon and to dig in near Bois Hugo and the Chalk Pit.

4 Officers and 98 Other Ranks of the 2/KRRC lost their lives on 25th September, this included Tipton men John Devison and Frederick Williams. The vast majority, including Devison and Williams, have no known grave and are commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner. Rifleman George Peachment of 2/KRRC won the Victoria Cross on the 25th September 1915 giving assistance to his wounded Captain, but losing his own life in that act of bravery.

Devison John Loos 1st Div Map drawn with reference to 1915 Vol 2 Official History by Sam Eedle Design, many thanks to Sam for permission to use.

Newspaper Cuttings

The Free Press July 9th 1915.
The above is a photograph of Lance-Corporal J. Devison, King's Royal Rifles, who has many friends and acquaintances in Greets Green. He is at present at the front. Lance-Corporal Devison was in India when the war broke out, and witnessed the Delhi Durbar some years ago. He came to England for two months before proceeding to the front.