Corporal 201036 John Spear Ford

Ford John Spear 96 430x600 Ford John 96 427x600
Photograph courtesy of Michael Ford.

Died of Wounds on Wednesday, 19th June 1918, age 33.
Buried in Grave I. A. 38. at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, Pas De Calais, France.

3rd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 74th Brigade of 25th Division.
Formerly 3119 1/7th Worcesters Regiment.

Son of Edward and Mary Ford, of Tipton, Staffordshire.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 31st March 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/4025342/

Genealogical Data

Birth of John Ford registered March quarter 1885 in Dudley.

1901 Census
5 Boat Row, Tipton, Staffs.
Edward Ford (44, Cable Link Binder at Chain Works, born Tipton), his wife Mary (45, born Tipton), and their 9 children: Ethel (18, at home, born Tipton), John S (16, Labourer at Chain Works, born Tipton), Mary A (15, at home, born Tipton), Edward (13, Screw Cutter, born Tipton), Charles A (11, born Tipton), Benjamin A (9, born Tipton), William L (7, born Tipton), Mabel (5, born Tipton), and Naomi L (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
11 Castle Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Edward Ford (54, Cable Chain Maker, born Tipton), his wife Mary (55, born Tipton), and their 9 children: John S (26, Sewing Machine Agent, born Tipton), Charles A (21, Blacksmith's Striker born Tipton), Benjamin A (19, Turner, born Tipton), William L (17, Toolmaker's Assistant, born Tipton), Ethel (28, Domestic help, born Tipton), Mabel (15, Domestic help, born Tipton), and Naomi L (12, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

James Spear Ford is incorrectly commemorated as JL Ford on the Tipton Library Memorial.

After James' death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £13/4/1d (13 pounds, 4 shillings and 1 penny); this was paid to his father and sole legatee, Edward, in October and November 1918. His War Gratuity was £19/0/0d (19 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that James had enlisted in September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 3rd Worcesters were in 74th Brigade of 25th Division, and had been heavily involved in attempting to halt the German advance during the 1918 Offensive. They had been involved in the Battles of St Quentin, Bapaume, Estaires, Messines, Bailleul, 1st Kemmel, 2nd Kemmel before moving to the Fisme in the Champagne region in May 1918. This had been a quiet region since 1917 so was to have been the chance to recuperate, but the Battle of the Aisne was about be unleashed.

At 1am on 27 May 1918, a heavy German bombardment with gas and high explosive hit the entire area between the front line on the River Aisne and Fismes itself. The infantry attack began three hours later. The 25th Division was instructed to hold the second line of defence. By 10am, all three Brigades had come under orders of the 21st, 8th and 50th Divisions respectively, which by now were fighting for their lives north of the river. By mid-day the Germans had broken through and crossed the Aisne: the units of 25th Division were thrown piecemeal into action. They were all but destroyed. The remnants of many units were temporarily joined into composite units, fighting a withdrawal as the enemy pressed on many miles. Casualties between 26 May and 14 June amounted to 4338 officers and men, of whom 2511 were missing.

It is not known when John Ford joined the 3rd Worcesters, or when he received the wounds which lead to his death on 19th June, almost 150 miles distant at a Base Hospital. The 27th and 28th May were particularly bad days for the 3rd Worcesters, so this is a possibility but will never be known with certainty.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 12th November 1917
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
WORCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT- Ford, 201036, Cpl., J., (Tipton).