Private 10456 John Howard Rushton

Killed in Action on Friday, 4th May 1917, age 19.
Commemorated on Bay 3 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

'B' Company of 2nd Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 22nd Brigade of 7th Division.

Son of John William and Fanny Rushton, of 112, Whitehall Rd., Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Great Bridge.

First landed France & Flanders, 2nd June 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 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1637936/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
217 Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
John Rushton (34, Brickyard Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Fanny (33, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Ethel (10, born Tipton), Gladys (6, born Tipton), John (3, born Tipton), and Horace (8 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
112 Whitehall Rd., Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
John William Rushton (44, Engine Driver, born Tipton), his wife Fanny (43, born Tipton), and their 8 surviving children of 9: Ethel Blanche (20, born Tipton), Gladys Gertrude (16, born Tipton), John Howard (13, Telegraph Messenger for Post Office, born Tipton), Horace (10, School, born Tipton), Samuel Richard (8, School, born Tipton), Cyril (5, School, born Tipton), Ulbert Henry (4, born Tipton), and George Stanley (10 months, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/5/9d (3 pounds, 5 shillings and 9 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Fanny, in August 1917. His War Gratuity was £10/0/0d (10 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in October 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in approximately February 1915.

Action resulting in his death

During February 1917, the 2nd Royal Warwicks (2/RWR) were involved in pursuit and harassment of the Germans during their retreat to the Hindenburg Line.

The Battle of Arras began on 9th April 1917, with Allenby’s Third Army attacking in roughly an eastward direction from east of Arras. Gough’s Fifth Army attacked Bullecourt at the South of the main Arras attack as a subsidiary and supporting action.

The first Bullecourt action began on 11th April, and the 2/RWR were part of 7th Division which was in readiness to support the attack. However, the ground gained at significant cost could not be held, and so the 2/RWR were not called into action that day.

A second attack on Bullecourt was made on 3rd May with the 62nd Division to the West of Bullecourt and the Australians to the East, hoping to encircle the village. Again the 2/RWR, as part of 7th Division, were in support. By midday, 62nd Division were back at their start point, with the Australians stubbornly holding about 1000 yards of the Hindenburg Line.

Units of the 7th Division were to repeat the attack to the West of Bullecourt. After an initial unsuccessful attack by the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and the Honourable Artillery Company, the 2/RWR and 20th Manchesters attacked at 3.00am on the 4th May. They got into the village but were dislodged by German counter-attacks.

Most of the survivors fell back to the railway embankment where they had started their advance, but approximately 50 men and 3 officers held on in Tower Trench at the Southern end of Bullecourt.

Losses were heavy and the 2/RWR and their fellow battalions were in no state to repeat the attack. Strong patrols were pushed out in the evening to see if Bullecourt was still held in strength. The German machine-gun fire soon proved that to be the case, a small party of men tried bombing up Tower Trench, they were soon over-powered.

98 Other Ranks and 6 Officers of the 2/RWR were killed during the attack on Bullecourt on the 4th May. Of the 104 men, just 2 have a named grave. The other 102, including John Rushton, have no known grave and are commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

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