Private 40186 John Williams

Williams John 96 341x600

Died of Wounds on Wednesday, 17th January 1917, age 32.
Buried in Grave I. F. 63. at Varennes Military Cemetery, Somme, France.

21st Bn., Manchester Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.
Formerly 17638 South Staffordshire Regiment.

Husband of Mrs Rosa Williams (nee Rowlands), of 17 Walton St., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, 9th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and Park Chapel memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/73770/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
49 Dudley Road, Tipton, Staffs.
William Williams (42, Blacksmith at a Forge, born Dudley), his wife Sarah A. (41, born Dudley), and their 7 children: Florence (13, Tailoress, born Dudley), John (16, House Painter, born Dudley), David (15, Grocer's Assistant, born Dudley), Herbert (13, Grocer's Assistant, born Dudley), James (12, born Dudley), Edith (7, born Tipton), and Clara (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
17 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs.
John Williams (27, Painter, born Dudley), his wife Rosa Annie (24, born Old Hill), and their only child: Rosa Winifred (1, born Tipton).

Personal Data

The Park Methodist Chapel Memorial commemorates John Williams. It is not known if this refers to this man, John Williams, or John Arthur Williams.

John (known as Jack) attested on the 18th February 1915 at Wolverhampton as Private 17638 with the South Staffs. He was 30 years old, 5 feet 8½ inches tall with a 36½-inch chest, weighed 152 pounds with a good physical development, and was employed as a Painter. He had married Rosa Rowlands in September 1908, and had two daughters Rosa Winifred (born 3rd May 1909) and Irene (born 13th September 1914).

After training in Sunderland and Plymouth, he embarked from England as a reinforcement to the 7th Battalion South Staffs on 28th August 1915, and landed in Gallipoli on 9th September 1915. During December and January 1915 John was hospitalised in Malta with sickness, re-joining the 7th South Staffs in Egypt in February 1916. He embarked from Alexandria on 5th July 1916, and arrived in France on 10th July 1916, and transferred to the 21st Manchesters on 2nd September 1916.

Rosa had been receiving a Separation Allowance of 21 shillings per week, plus 3 shillings and sixpence allotted from John's pay until 29th July 1917. From that day onwards, she became entitled to a Pension of 22 shillings and 11 pence per week for herself and the two children. By 1918, Rosa and her two children were living at 36 Waterloo Street East, Tipton.

Action resulting in his death

The 21st Manchesters left 'Lytham Camp' in the Mailly-Maillet area at 8.15pm on Wednesday 10th January 1917 reaching 'Cake Trench' at 10.30pm amid a bombardment. Here they relieved the 20th Manchesters, the relief being completed by midnight.

At 6.40am on Thursday 11th January 1917 the battalion attacked the German held 'Munich Trench' at Beaumont Hamel in front of their positions, this being taken with comparative ease. The Germans surrendered as the battalion entered their trenches and then bombers cleared out the dugouts. Only two or three German dead were found and 114 prisoners were taken.

Casualties for the operation amounted to 2 officers killed and 1 wounded, with 17 other ranks killed, 54 wounded and 3 missing. Most of the casualties were from enemy artillery and sniper fire. The following day the Germans maintained a continual bombardment of the captured trenches; the battalion was relieved at 3am on Saturday 13 January 1917 and returned to Lytham Camp.

On 11th January 1917 John received Gun Shot Wounds to his right thigh and leg resulting in a compound fracture to the right thigh. He died from the effects of the wounds on the 17th January at No. 4 Casualty Clearing Station at Varennes. He is buried in Varennes Military Cemetery which was adjacent to the Casualty Clearing Station.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 27th January 1917
Roll of Honour
WILLIAMS.- On 17th inst, (from wounds received on the 11th), in hospital in France. Jack, dearly loved husband of Rosa Williams (nee Rowlands) of 17 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs, aged 32. Sincere thanks for sympathy from all friends.
Roll of Honour
WILLIAMS.- On the 18th inst, from wounds received in action in France, Private John Williams, Manchester Regiment, age 32, eldest son of WES Williams of 21 Dixons Green Dudley. "His task is over, his duty done".

Tipton Herald 17th February 1917
Pte J. Williams (of the Manchester Regiment) is officially reported to have died of wounds. Private J. Wright of the same Regiment is reported missing, and Private S. Inston is reported wounded.

Tipton Herald 19th January 1918
In Memoriam
WILLIAMS.- In loving memory of Jack, the beloved husband of Rosa Williams (nee Rowlands), 36 Waterloo St East, Tipton, who died from wounds received in action January 17th 1917. Not forgotten. Also fondly remembered by his sister Florrie and Ted.