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John Ashley Yates Stinton

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....A MEMORIAL TO MY UNCLE A ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY MAN....

                         

Welcome to my website dedicated to the memory of my uncle - Bombardier John Ashley Yates Stinton - John died in 1918 after being wounded in action in world war one. He was the son of Ashley and Agnes Stinton and brother to my father Claude. I have been researching John for over 15 years now, his records were destroyed in the bombing of Kew in WW2 making research difficult. Johns middle names Ashley Yates were after his uncle Ashley Yates.

This website was started in Aug 2005. Overall site updated 2015. Please click on titles at top of the webpage to navigate the site.

John was aged 30 at the time of his death. Prior to the war John worked on the railways in Cardiff and Worcester. He joined the GWR in Cardiff (51863) in Sep 1911 he worked there for 3 years resigning in Dec 14 and moving back to his home town of Worcester.  Working in the Locomotive and Carriage Dept as a labourer. His wage rate was three shillings and four pence in December 1914, his works number was 81286. John was one of 2,524 railway workers who gave their lives in the great war. 22,955 men, also came forward and served in their countries hour of need. Great Western men to be proud of.

   

Opening of the GWR Memorial at Paddington station on Armistice day by Viscount Churchill.  A vellum Roll, on which are inscribed the names of the 2,524 GWR men who gave their lives, is deposited beneath the figure, in a sealed casket made at Swindon works

 

He also tried his hand at mining in early 1911 with his friend Frank Palmer. Both Labouring below ground at McClaren colliery Abertsswg. He was a boarder at John and Emily Lappings house in Glyn Street Abertsswg Wales.

 

John was born in Worcester in 1888. He lived with his parents Ashley and Agnes at Astwood Road, Worcester, but later moved to Watford Road, Kings Norton, Birmingham. He was one of fourteen children.

John his twin brothers Claude and Seth and father Ashley.

Gunner John Ashley Yates STINTON service number 3041 (831036) was posted to France with the 1st Worcester battery 2nd south midlands brigade on 11th July 1915. Brigade was entrained at Berguette and moved South to Doullens and on to Authie where the new 18 pounders were delivered. The rest of the month was taken up by training on the new guns and on the 1st August went into action briefly. The month was taken up by alternating action and training. John joined 'A' battery  later to become 241 Brigade from reinforcements on 7th October 1915.

John first saw action at Bayencourt and the bombarding of Gommercourt in September but on the whole this was a quiet posting to the end of the year with little more reported than "usual retaliations" and an occasional note of heavier enemy fire, particularly from minenwerfers (minnies)"To be hit by something you could not see was not too bad, but to see something coming, sufficient to blow a crater of 15 feet in diameter and not to know which way to go to avoid it, minnies the trench man's nightmare." Snipers were also a constant source of danger.

January and February 1916 saw a lot more enemy action and we hear more of injured and killed. After 6 months on the western front John was then transferred from ‘A’ battery to ‘D’ battery - 31st March 1916. Then again transferred to the new 243 Brigade RFA 'B' battery on the 18/5/1916... Evelyn Wilcock has an excellent website Link which gives useful information on the Warwickshire Howitzer Brigade which later became 243 Brigade. Apr 4th left Thievres ( where 243 Batteries was being formed ) The brigade and batteries moved from Hebuterne to Colincamps village, further away from the front, the batteries then went further down to the wagon lines for training in preparation for the Somme offensive.

Moving back into position in mid June, fully gunned up and with 1000 rounds of ammo for each gun pit. June 4th saw the start of the bombardment of German positions, concentrating on wire-cutting in readiness for the battle of the somme on the 1st July. On the 4th May John was transferred to hospital after being injured in the field. War diary's for this day states “Artillery active on trenches”. John would have had his injury first checked at a Casualty clearing station, numbers 56 and 61 were the South Midland CCS they were based in Amiens.

John rejoined 241 brigade RFA on 14th May 1916. He was then transferred to 243 Brigade on the 18th May. This battery was formed in the Thievres area on March 31st. Another Kings Norton native Arthur Charles Welham was also in D battery, Arthur and John must have known each other. Arthur survived the war, during his service he kept a comprehensive diary which his grandson Roy has kindly allowed me to use details of on my site, the full diary can be viewed on Roys excellent family website.      Link 

May 2nd 1916. Full marching orders to Coineaux transported by lorry to Duellons arriving the next day at Abberville. May 4th. headed for St Leger arriving next day rest of the month and early June gunnery instruction ect, ready for the Somme offensive went into action in Martinsart  Nr Albert. June 29th. Battery went to Englebelmer waiting orders to advance but was cancelled due to bad weather. July 1st. Somme offensive started.(over 19,250 British and commonwealth men were to die today, with over 50,000 casualties) July 2nd Infantry of 31st div take 2 trenches. July 4th. Gloucester’s and Bengal lancers take Beaumont Hamel and advance 4 miles but lost ground after a counter attack. July 5th. Battery at new postion at Colincamps. July 21st. Six gun battery in action at La Bouselle. July 24th. At Pozieres ANZACS take village nearby. July 28th. Came out of action down the line to St Ouen. Aug 13th. In action at Ovilliers. Aug 18th. Warwicks take 4 lines of trenches without casualties. Aug 27th. In action at Crucifix corner. Sept 15th. Left Bouziincourt for Albert. Sept 30th. Came out of action. Oct 2nd. Left Albert. Oct 4th. In action right section Sailly Plain left section at Le Haye Chateau. Oct 18th. 243 broken up Left section attached to B battery 241 Brigade now 6 guns instead of 4 based at Gaudiempre. End of Arthurs extracts.

One of John and Arthurs commanding officers was killed during this period West F. C. B. Lt Col 243rd Bde R.F.A. 28-Sep-16 aged 33. Buried Aveluy Cem, Somme. Also killed in July was Captain A.E. Stone "A" battery 243 brigade RFA. Buried at Aveluy Cemetery on the Somme.   

243 brigade were at Herbuterne to start with. But then in the period from July-September they were fighting in the battle of the Somme. First they moved South and held back to support the Canadians at Auchinvillers.

 

The attack failed so the  brigade instead moved down to Ovillers, nr Albert and were in heavy fighting there with casualties.

They had a short respite behind the lines and then joined the advance north from Albert to Pozieres. (between 2nd July and mid-September RFA gunners fired over 7 million shells on the somme battlefield). John remained with this battery, until October 1916, when batteries were reassigned. What happened to John after this reshuffle I am unsure about according to 241 records he didn’t go back there no mention of him on 240 roles, maybe to 242 brigade. (Johns records were part of the burnt series, lost during the bombing of Kew in the 2nd WW.

More details from Arthurs diary.

December 1916 saw 31 div artillery moving around quite a bit Pas en Artoid, VIllers Bocage, Malliens Bois, Albert. Dec 31st. Wagon line positioned Nr High Wood. January in action at High Wood. Feb 3rd. Sections went into action taking over French positions. During Mar/Apr 48th Division took 35 villages out of 160, taking 3 in one day.

During July/August casualties mount.  I am into speculation now! John is still probably with the 48th div he was wounded 3 times the first in 1915 and fatally in 1918, his second wounding must have been quite serious keeping him out of action for a fairly long time. He then re-entered the war with 165 Lancs Brigade, 31st Division instead of the 48th div. It was common in late 1917/18 for men returning to make up numbers in other brigades. It is also worth pointing out that the 48th div moved to Italy. Significant casualties suffered on the following dates:-

Aug 19th. Battery position shelled 3 killed 2 wounded, casualties up to this date 6 killed 6 wounded. Sept 7th. Several aeroplane bombs dropped on 'C' Battery one man escaped all the rest killed or wounded. Sept 12th. Several bombs dropped near 'D' battery 240 brigade 30 casualties. Oct 19th. One shell dug out at battery position 4 killed 10 wounded.

John was promoted to Lance  bombardier sometime in 1917.He also joined 165 brigade RFA. 165 brigade at the time of Johns death was commanded by:- Lt Col A.P. Boxall R.F.A. 165 Brigade in 1918 was a member of the 31st Divisional artillery commanded by:- Brig. Gen. E.P. Lambert C.B.C.M.G.RA. 165 Brigade was originally formed at Fleetwood and must have consisted  almost wholly of Lancashire men, it was part of Lord Derby's recruitment drive in May 1915. In mid July the newly formed Brigades 165,169,170 and 171 encamped to Bedale camp Northallerton North Yorkshire to join 32 division then transferred to the 31st Division, whereabouts 1918 until Johns wounding. March 21st saw the start of the 'Great German offensive'. This offensive if successful could have changed the whole outcome of the war. Germany's well trained storm troopers made great advances, up to 40 miles inside allied lines. The German high command was slow in getting trained reinforcements to relieve them, which cost them dear. In fact it was the beginning of the end for the German empire, who realised they faced defeat when their offensive eventually failed which led to the start of the German armies retreat.

Battle of St Quentin  21-23 Mar. 1st Battle Bapaume  24-25 Mar.

1st Battle Arras  28 Mar. Battle of Estaures  9-11 Apr. Battle of Hazebrouck

 12-15 Apr.  Action of La Becque  28 Jun. July and August at Wallon Cappell.

(July 18th. Turn of the tide for the allies.)

In France 165 brigade being in X corps part of the reserve Army in mid 1916, John was probably drafted in during 1917 to make up the numbers to full strength after a leave period or wounding. In the month before Johns death 165 brigade was part of the 31st division, who were involved in the battle of La Becque (27th/28th June) fought around the Aval wood area, pals battalions of Accrington and Leeds, Leeds bantams and Hull commercials were involved, the artillery firing sharpnel shells to aid wire cutting and keeping the German machine gunners heads down, unfortunately some fell short, or the forward movement was quicker than expected and some men were killed, but the advance was a success nearly a mile of front line was gained, heavy machine guns, light field guns and trench mortars were captured. 31 st Div suffered around 250 casualties that day.

On July 27th 1918 John was seriously wounded in action in the Aval wood area. He received gunshot wounds in both of his legs, and an arm. John lost his life 3 Months before the signing of the armistice, after over 3 years of fighting he died with only weeks of the war to go.

                               

Aval wood today looking along the D188 towards La Motte au-bois with Vieux Berquin in the other direction.

On the day John was wounded one 165 Battery at the far end of this track (above left) close to Caudescure.

Trench map overlaid on google earth.

                                             

 

1914-1915 Star BWM and Victory star.

War diary for this day states: Hostile artillery quiet during the morning and afternoon, activity was normal during the night GARS BRUGGHE  and CAUDESCURE (one battery of 165 brigade in a field close to CAUDESCURE) received some attention. intermittent shelling of forward tracks throughout the night by 77mm about 20 rounds every 2 hours. 165 Brigade Batteries were dug in around Aval wood details on map.

John died of his injuries on August 9th 1918 in Dublin hospital Boulogne. He was buried with full military honours John is buried at Terlincthun cemetery Wimille, Pas de Calais, France.In plot 2 B13. His middle name was spelt wrong ASHEY instead of ASHLEY CWGC have now corrected this. He lies between 2 Australian soldiers.

 

Picture on the left with his middle name spelt wrong on the right spelt correctly.

Private Allen George McWade.  7744 15th Battalion Australian Infantry. Aged 19. Died from Gun Shot Wounds to neck chest and shoulder at 6.20am on the 11th Aug in the 8th Stationary Hospital Wimereux.  Allen joined the AIF on the 8th Aug 1917. Born in Britain, worked as a station hand, he was single from Cornwall Street, Dutton Park, South Brisbane, Queensland. Served  4yrs as a Naval Cadet.

Lance corporal Henry Howard Richardson.  Military Medal for bravery in the field. 7811. aged 40. 16th Battalion, Wounded and admitted to 20th CCS (USA)General Hospital on the 8th Aug 18 suffering from GSW of the head and compound fracture of the right frontal region with a foreign body in the brain he died suddenly at 1.00am on the 11th Aug 1918. Joined AIF 21 June 1917. Born 1878 Pekina South Australia. Harry was a farmer, farming in Three Springs, Western Australia. His brother Jim also died in France.

Cemetery was created in June 1918 mainly for the burial of men who died in the hospitals. The cemetery suffered considerable damage in the second world war when German troops stationed in adjoining Chateau used buildings close to cemetery for target practice. 4,500 WW1 casualties commemorated in this cemetery.

  

Plaque on the front gate of the cemetery.                                         Old and modern view of the cemetery at Terlincthun.

The cemetery is overlooked by a column with a statue of Napoleon on top, ironical really, as the grandparents of our fallen could well have been fighting the battles of Warterloo in 1815 against Napoleon Bonaparte.

He is remembered on the roll of honour at the Guildhall Worcester, and in the honour book at St George's Chapel inside Worcester Cathedral.

                                              

Guildhall Worcester, plaques behind oak panelled doors and close up of John's memorial.

Liked to be known as 'Jack'  remembered by his family always. RIP.

Also remembering one of Johns younger brothers PERCY JAMES STINTON.  who was with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) 435512 Private 21st Field Ambulance, attached to the 7th Division. serving 2 years in France. He survived the war to live a full life marrying and fathering two daughters and working as a senior taxman in Wolverhampton.

Percy.