Private 11243 John Thomas Tibbs

Tibbs John 96 374x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 16th February 1916, age 34.
Commemorated on Panel 35 and 37 of Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

8th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 51st Brigade of 17th Division.

Son of George and Elizabeth Tibbs, of 41, Piercy St., Newtown, Wednesbury, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Wednesbury.

First landed France & Flanders, 1st August 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/1626516/

Genealogical Data

1911 Census
61 Ethelfleda Terrace, Wednesbury, Staffs.
George Tibbs (48, Navvy Labourer, born Stourbridge), his wife Elizabeth (46, born Dudley), and their 4 children: John (18, Drawer-out in Furnace, born Tipton), Edward (14, Drilling Machinist, born Tipton), Violet (8, born Wednesbury), and Herbert (6, born Wednesbury).

1911 Census
41 Piercy Street, Wednesbury, Staffs.
G. Tibbs (58, Bricklayer's Labourer, born Lye Waste), his wife E. Tibbs (54, Housekeeper, born Tamworth), and 4 of their 8 surviving children of 12: John (28, Labourer in Tube Works, born Tipton), Edward (24, Labourer in Tube Works, born Tipton), Violet (18, Buttonhole Finisher, born Wednesbury), and Herbert (16, Bell Cleaner, born Wednesbury).

Personal Data

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/7/10d (2 pounds, 7 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his mother, Elizabeth, in June 1916. His War Gratuity was £6/0/0d (6 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in approximately September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 8th Battalion South Staffs was in 51st Brigade of 17th (Northern) Division. In early February 1916, the 17th Division returned to the front near St. Eloi, along the line south of the Ypres-Comines canal and railway. It included some captured ground on the north bank of the canal called The Bluff, this was higher as the material from the excavation of the canal had been built up. The area had been relatively quiet but the Germans now became very active. This included some heavy shelling, including gas, and mining.

In the afternoon of 14th February German infantry successfully attacked the British units holding The Bluff after a very heavy bombardment with shells and trench mortars, and blowing some mines. On the afternoon of the 14th, 51st Brigade held the left front including The Bluff. Half its men were in the trenches and the other half were held in reserve. On 15th February German artillery and rifle fire continued throughout the day. On 16th February a British counter-attack at 05.40am failed, it was March before The Bluff was re-taken.

John Tibbs is recorded as being killed in action on 16th February, both the 15th and 16th were trying days for the 8th South Staffs. John has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres.

If you require further detail:
War Diary 8th South Staffs

14th February
Bombardment by the enemy increased all day.
06.00 pm. 2 mines exploded by enemy. All communication to Companies gone.
06.15 pm. Enemy advancing against 'B' Company. 'A' Company has very severe casualties. Lt Porter reported killed.
07.15 pm. The Commanding Officer returns wounded.
07.30 pm. A slight lull, wounded evacuated.
08-11 pm. Enemy consolidating. Reported to have taken from right half of Trench 33 to Trench 29 inclusive, including The Bluff.
11.45 pm. Intense enemy bombardment.

February 15th
00.15 am. Heavy machine gun fire and rifle fire opened on our trenches.
00.35 am. Two orderlies despatched to firing line for news.
08.25 am. Estimated casualties 6 officers and 112 other ranks. Rest of the day very quiet. That evening British bombardment and counter-attack.

February 16th
12.05 am. The Dressing Station obtained a direct hit from an 8 inch shell. About 12 men, Lt. B.B. Gough and Lt. T.Y. Birrel killed. Orderly sent for another doctor and stretcher bearers
03.30am. Final plans made for assault on enemy's stop when moon goes down.
05.40am. Attack on enemy stop launched under 2nd Lt. Elliott with 12 bombers and 7 bayonet men.
07.00am. Capt Smith reports attack failed. Attack was within an ace of succeeding but bombers were no close enough to 2nd Lt. Elliott to support him.

Battalion relieved by 7th BORDERS Regiment. Relief completed by 10.20pm.
Casualties: 4 Officers, 40 Other Ranks.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Gazette 28th March 1916 (front page)
Pte. J.T. Tibbs, 8th South Staffordshire Regiment, whose mother lives at 41 Piercey Street, Newtown, Wednesbury, was killed on 16th February.