Private 12581 John James Stride

Stride John 96 330x600
Photograph courtesy of the excellent 'The Fallen of Oldbury, Langley & Warley 1914 - 1918'.

Died of Wounds Home on Thursday, 14th September 1916, age 23.
Buried in Grave F. "U." 3711. at Oldbury Cemetery, Warley, Staffs, United Kingdom.

6th Bn., Royal Berkshire Regiment. 53rd Brigade of 18th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Smethwick, Resident: Birmingham.

First landed France & Flanders, 25th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton 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/364085/

Genealogical Data

Birth of John James Stride registered March quarter 1893 in Dudley.

1901 Census
4 Factory Road, Tipton, Staffs.
James Stride (7, born Tipton), living with his grandparents James Stride (70, General Labourer, born Hanbury, Worcs) and Selina Stride (69, born Tipton).

1901 Census
Evans Building, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood, Staffs.
Benjamin Instone (36, Widower, Coal Miner, born Tipton), and his 2 children: Minnie (7, born Tipton) and Benjamin (4, born Walsall Wood). Also Selina Stride (69, Visitor, born Tipton) and Charlotte Stride (39, born Tipton). Selina and Charlotte were his late wife's mother and sister.

1911 Census
4 Old Hobicus Lane, Langley Green, Oldbury, Worcs.
Samuel Whitehouse (56, Moulder, born Tipton), his wife Charlotte (50, born Tipton), James Stride (81, Boarder, Pensioner, born Hanbury) and James Inston (18, Boarder, Fitter's Labourer in Iron Works, born Tipton).

Personal Data

John James Stride, usually called 'James', was born in 1893 and was the illegitimate son of Emily Stride. In 1894 Emily married Benjamin Instone and they had two children, Minnie and Benjamin. At the time of the 1901 Census, Emily had just died and 7-year old John was living with his grandparents, James and Selina Stride, at Factory Road, Tipton. John's grandmother, Selina, and his Aunt Charlotte were also shown on the 1901 Census as Visitors with Benjamin Instone in Walsall Wood, presumably looking after his two children.

When his aunt, Charlotte Stride, married widower Samuel Whitehouse in 1907, John and his grandparents went to live with them at 4 Old Hobicus Lane, Langley. The 1911 census records John as 'James Inston’ aged 18, still living at Old Hobicus Lane. The use of the surname ‘Inston’ seems to suggest that Benjamin Instone was his father, but if so then he was not living with his father in 1901 or 1911.

John attended Spring Street Methodist Church, Langley, and may have been involved with the Sunday School there. His grandmother died in 1910, and his grandfather died in 1913, and when called upon to make a will in the army John nominated his Aunt Charlotte as his sole legatee.

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £6/4/2d (6 pounds, 4 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his aunt and sole legatee, Mrs Charlotte Whitehouse, in November 1916. His War Gratuity was £8/10/0d (8 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his aunt in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in approximately September 1914.

In 1917 an application was made for a Dependant's Pesnion by Mrs Charlotte Whitehouse of 4 Old Hobicus Lane, Oldbury, described as John's "Aunt and Guardian". This appears to have been rejected, but an unspecified grant was paid instead.

Action resulting in his death

John Stride volunteered for service and joined the 6th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, one of the ‘new army’ battalions raised in September 1914. It was part of the 53rd Brigade of the 18th (Eastern) Division, and went to France on 25th July 1915.

The 6th Royal Berkshires attacked at Montauban on 1st July 1916 - the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. By the standards of the day this was a success with a gain of 2,500 yards; almost 100 Officers and Men lost their lives on this day, and over 250 were wounded. On 19th July, the 6th Royal Berkshires attacked Delville Wood but with less success being forced to defend a line well short of the overall objective. Almost 40 Officers and Men lost their lives on the 19th, and over 125 were wounded. They were then moved into Reserve until late September, during which time they were able to rebuild their numbers.

It is likely that James was severely wounded during the course of these actions. He was returned to England, to Tooting Hospital, where he died from his wounds on 14th September 1916.

John was buried at Oldbury Cemetery on 19th September with full military honours and a Guard of Honour formed by Defence Corps that guarded Chance and Hunt’s Works. A service was held at Spring Street Methodist Church, and the wreaths listed in the Weekly News are headed by one from Charlotte and Samuel Whitehouse, uncles and aunts, father and brother, teachers and scholars at Langley Spring Street, workmates at Langley Forge, and various friends. His grave has a marble curb with no dedication to anyone other than that to ‘Signaller James Stride’. It does not have a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.

Assistance is acknowledged from the excellent book 'The Fallen of Oldbury, Langley and Warley 1914 - 1918' (pages 28 and 120) by the Langley Local History Society.

Newspaper Cuttings

Smethwick Weekly News, September 1917.
In Memoriam.
One year has passed and still we miss him,
Friends may think the wound has healed;
But they little know the sorrow
Deep within our hearts concealed.
Never forgotten by his uncle and aunt, Mr and Mrs Whitehouse.