Private G/66619 John Griffiths

Griffiths John 96 403x600 Griffiths John 96 407x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 18th August 1917, age 20.
Buried in Grave II. C. 10. at Bertenacre Military Cemetery, Fletre, Nord, France.

26th Bn., Royal Fusiliers (Bankers). 124th Brigade of 41st Division.
Formerly 37587 South Staffordshire Regiment.

Son of Mr and Mrs Elijah Griffiths, of 62 High Street, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Sedgley, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. John's Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/273634/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
10 Victoria Street, Coseley, Staffs.
Elijah Griffiths (33, Colliery Boat Loader, born Toll End), his wife Mary (32, born Coseley), and their 7 surviving children of 9: Elijah (20, born Tipton), Minnie (9, born Princes End), Edward (6, born Princes End), and John (4, born Princes End).

1911 Census
62 High Street, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Elijah Griffiths (42, Pit Bank Worker, born Tipton), his wife Mary (42, born Coseley), and their 7 surviving children of 9: Elijah (20, Deck Labourer, born Coseley), Minnie (18, Domestic Servant, born Coseley), Edward (16, Carpenter, born Coseley), John (14, Telegraph Boy, born Coseley), James (11, School, born Coseley), Sidney (6, born Tipton), and Frank (3, born Tipton).

Personal Data

None Available.

Action resulting in his death

After the Armistice 115 French and 2 German graves were removed from Bertenacre Military Cemetery, and British graves were brought in from the nearby Royal West Surrey Cemetery, Fletre. It had contained the graves of 42 British soldiers killed in an enemy air raid on the 18th August 1917 (of whom 38 belonged to the 10th Queen's). The 10th Queen's (Royal West Surrey) were a sister Battalion of the 26th Royal Fusiliers in 124 Brigade of 41st Division, so it is safe to assume that Griffiths was killed in the same enemy air raid.

The Royal West Surrey Regimental History mentions the incident as follows:-
"On the evening of the 18th August a hostile aeroplane dropped a bomb in the middle of the camp (in the Thieushoek area), which was a very crowded owing to the need for saving the small amount of the land which was under cultivation by the French peasantry, and three companies of the Battalion were camped in a very small space, with the result that one bomb dropped caused no fewer than 107 casualties, including 1 officer wounded and 45 other ranks being killed or dying of their injuries."

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald September 15th 1917
Roll of Honour.
GRIFFITHS.- Private Jack Griffiths, dearly beloved son of Mr and Mrs Elijah Griffiths, of 62 High Street, Princes End, Tipton, killed in action August 18th.

Tipton Herald September 22nd 1917
The death is officially reported of Private John Griffiths, age 20, of the 26th Royal Fusiliers. He is a son of Mr and Mrs Elijah Griffiths of 62 High Street, Princes End, and a nephew of Mr and Mrs James Mander of the 'Three Furnaces', Wood Street, Tipton.
After leaving school the deceased young soldier served in the Princes End Post Office for a year, and then became a clerk for Mr Wright, Coal Merchant, of Deepfields, up to April 9th of this year when he was called up for service. Attached to the South Staffords at the outset, he had only been serving with the Fusiliers nine days when he was killed. He had formerly been totally rejected for the army, and had only been in France for nine weeks when he was killed. His mother is an invalid. It will be noted that he met with his death but a few days over four months after joining the army.
The bereaved mother received the following letter from the Lieutenant commanding the Company, dated August 20th:- "Dear Mrs Griffiths, I very much regret to inform you that your son was killed on August 18th. He had been in the Company for only a short time, but he was popular with all his comrades. He was buried behind the lines, and his comrades attended the funeral. I wish to offer you my deepest sympathy in your terrible loss."
Tomorrow (Sunday) evening, a memorial service to the deceased soldier's memory will be held at St Joseph's, Princes End.