Private 31926 John Gwynne

Gwynne John family 96
Above photograph taken by grandson Joseph Gwynne in 2010 when 12 members of the Gwynne family visited John with the medals he never saw.

Gwynne John 96 650x485

Killed in Action Balkans on Wednesday, 25th April 1917, age 36.
Buried in Grave V. A. 27. at Doiran Military Cemetery, Greece.

12th Bn., Hampshire Regiment. 79th Brigade of 26th Division.
Formerly 19036 4th Worcestershire Regiment.

Son of Harry and Eliza Gwynne, of 50, Belfast Cottages, Toll End Rd., Tipton; husband of Nellie Gwynne, of 62, Albert St., Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, 9th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, 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/334406/

Genealogical Data

Birth of John Gwynne registered June quarter 1880 at Dudley.

1901 Census
58 Queens Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Henry Gwynn (47, Iron Boat Builder, born Tipton), his wife Eliza (47, born Tipton), and their 6 children: John (21, Waggoner, born Tipton), Henry (15, Iron Works Labourer, born Tipton), Louisa (13, Scholar, born Tipton), Clara (11, Scholar, born Tipton), Alfred (7, Scholar, born Tipton), and James (4, born Tipton).

Marriage of John Gwynn and Nellie Ledington registered December quarter 1905 at Dudley.

1911 Census
62 Albert Street, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
John Gwynn (30, Blacksmith's Striker, born Tipton), his wife Nellie (24, born Princes End), and their 2 surviving children of 2: Harriet (5, born Princes End), and James (2, born Princes End). A further 2 children were born: Jack Gwynne in March quarter 1912, and Joseph Gwynne in June quarter 1915. Jack appears to have died in 1918 aged 6, but Joseph's son, also Joseph, keeps John Gwynne's memory alive and has twice visited his grave in Doiran.

Personal Data

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £5/18/9d (5 pounds, 18 shillings and 9 pence); this was paid to his widow, Nellie, in August 1917. His War Gratuity was £11/0/0d (11 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Nellie in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in approximately November 1914.

Action resulting in his death

From "Old Foleyans"
After dark on April 23rd, the 12th Hampshires moved up for the Division's attack on the Jumeaux Ravine it had so long been facing. In this attack the 79th Brigade was on the right, from the Lake to Petit Couronne, which the Devon's were again tackling, the 12th Hampshire's objective, 'O.3', being east of the Petit Couronne and astride a wide gully, Wylye Ravine. On their right the 7th Wiltshires were attacking 'O.1' and 'O.2' next to the lake.

Nobody who had faced the Petit Couronne and neighbouring defences for several months could have any illusions about the desperate character of the venture. Our bombardment had done little damage to the formidable Bulgarian defences, their trenches having largely been blasted from the solid rock, the wire had not been very effectively cut and our guns had quite failed to master or silence those of the enemy, who had every advantage in observation and knew the range to a nicety. It is indeed difficult to understand how this sector should ever have been selected for an attack.

By 8.15pm on April 24th, the 12th Hampshire had started moving forward, to be caught by the enemy's barrage half an hour before Zero scheduled for 9.45pm, and so prevented from reaching their assembly position, a sunken road between Swindon and Silbury Hills, before our barrage lifted. But the 79th Brigade had been cut to pieces, the 12th Hampshires having 15 officers and 249 men hit."

"Soldiers Died in the Great War" shows the 12th Hampshires having 24 men killed on 24th April, and 32 men killed on the 25th April. Two Tipton men, John Gwynne and Arthur Mason, are recorded as killed in action on 25th April. John is buried in Doiran Military Cemetery, and Arthur has no known grave and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, in northern Greece near the Macedonian border.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald June 2nd 1917
Among the deaths of Tipton men reported is Pte. J. Gwynne Hampshire Regiment.