Jackson J.P.

JOHN PERCIVAL JACKSON (1897-1917)

24303 Corporal J.P. Jackson, 151st Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), was killed in action 23 April 1917 and is buried at Wancourt British Cemetery.[1]  He was 19 years old and is commemorated on Butterknowle War Memorial and the memorial plaque in St. John the Evangelist Church, Lynesack.

Family Details

John Percival Jackson was born 1897 [2] at Butterknowle, the son of William and Ellen (nee Heads)[3] Jackson.  There were at least 5 children: [4]

  • Linda bc.1895 at Butterknowle
  • Hannah Jane bc.1896 at Butterknowle
  • John Percival born 1897 at Butterknowle
  • Frank Simpson bc.1903 in the Parish of Lynesack and Softley
  • William Heads bc.1905 in the Parish of Lynesack and Softley

In 1901, the family lived at the Engine Yard, Butterknowle and 25 year old William worked as a coal miner (hewer).[5]  31 year old Ellen died in 1906.[6] By 1911, Eleanor Hall was William’s housekeeper at the family home in Essex Row, Butterknowle.  45 year old widower William was a coal miner (shift man) and none of his 4 children are recorded as in employment.  13 year old John was at school and 16 year old Linda lived with her uncle and aunt, John and Elizabeth May at Billy Row near Crook.  .[7]

Service Details

John Percival Jackson enlisted at Cockfield into the 6th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry the local Territorial Force and was given the regimental number 2021.[8]  At some time later he was transferred to the 151st Machine Gun Company and was promoted to Corporal.  He entered France 19 April 1915.[9]

The 1/6th Battalion was formed in Bishop Auckland in August 1914 as part of the Durham Light Infantry Brigade, Northumbrian Division and in May 1915 became the 151st Brigade of the 50th Division. The Division moved to France 16 April 1915 and served with distinction on the Western Front throughout the war.  Other battalions were:

  • 1/7th Battalion, DLI
  • 1/8th Battalion, DLI
  • 1/9th Battalion, DLI
  • 1/5th Battalion, the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment joined June 1915

By 23 April 1915, the Division was concentrated in the Steenvoorde area on the Franco-Belgian border just as the German Army attacked nearby Ypres, using poison gas for the first time.  The Division was rushed into battle and took part in the following engagements, all phases of the Second Battle of Ypres: [10]

  • The Battle of St. Julien: 24 April – 4 May
  • The Battle of Frezenburg Ridge: 8 – 13 May
  • The Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge: 24-25 May

Following heavy casualties, in June 1915 the battalion merged with the 1/8th to become the 6/8th then it returned to its original identity 11 August 1915 and was then joined by:

  • 1/5th (Cumberland) Battalion, the Border Regiment joined December 1915
  • 151st Machine Gun Company formed 6 February 1916
  • 150th Trench Mortar Battery formed 18 June 1916

The 50th Division was part of the III Corps, Fourth Army which saw action at the Battle of the Somme 1916 as follows: [11]

  • The Battle of Flers-Courcelette: 15-22 September
  • The Battle of Morval: 25-28 September
  • The Battle of Le Transloy: 1–18 October

In 1917, up until the date of Corporal J.P. Jackson’s death, 23 April, the Division was involved in the Arras Offensive as follows: [12]      

  • The First Battle of the Scarpe: 9–14 April 1917
  • The Second Battle of the Scarpe: 23-24 April 1917

The Second Battle of the Scarpe: a summary [13]

23 April 1917: the British launched an assault east from Wancourt towards Vis-en-Artois.  Elements of the 30th and the 50th Divisions made initial gains and were able to secure the villages of Guemappe but could not advance further east and suffered heavy losses.  Farther north, German forces counter-attacked in an attempt to recapture Monchy-le-Preux but troops from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment were able to hold the village until reinforcements from 29th Division arrived.  British commanders did not push forward in the face of such stiff opposition and the attack was called off the following day, 24 April.

151st Machine Gun Company: in action [14]

The following details are from the Divisional History.

“The advance eastwards was to continue on the 23rd April; the 50th Division with the 30th Division and the 15th Division on the right and left respectively, was to occupy as the first objective (Blue Line) the whole of the ridge east of Wancourt Tower and (roughly) a north and south line, 1,600 yards west of it and as a second objective (Red Line) a south-west to north-east line from the southern end of the Blue Line to the right bank of the Cojeul River, north-west of Vis-en-Artois and just short of Rohart Factory….The attack would be carried out by the 150th Infantry Brigade with 151st in support and the 149th in reserve…The 149th Machine Gun Company and 2 sections of the 151st Machine Gun Company were also to support the attack with barrage fire…At Zero Hour (4.45am) the 3 infantry brigades were to be in position as follows: 2 battalions ready to assault, 2 in Nepal and Tiger Trenches; 151st – 3 battalions in the Harp, 1 in Ronville; 149th – 4 battalions in Ronville…”

There is no mention of any specific action taken by 151st MGC.

“The Division had suffered during the fighting on the 23rd casualties numbering 66 officers and 1,400 ranks.”

24 April: during the early morning, 151st Brigade relieved the 150th Brigade who moved back into reserve at The Harp area.

The 151 Machine Gun Company War Diary records as follows:

22.4.17 & 23.4.17: Coy again taken the field apposite WANCOURT. 2 sections fire during artillery barrage& push on afterwards.

Wancourt Tower Ridge

24.4.17: Only 2 guns can be manned.

25.4.17: Relieved by 42 M.G.Coy

Ronville

26.4.17: in billets

Arras

27.4.17: Marched to——left by train 9pm for Warlencourt Halts

Casualties during this spell in the trenches 27 including 2Lt. H. Lewis & 2Lt. R.L. Hill

Casualties O.R.s

23rd 1 Kia 2 wounded

24th 3 Kia 7 wounded

Reinforcements received from M.G. Corps base depot

22nd O.R.s 12

28th O.R.s 21”

Corporal J.P. Jackson was killed in action 23 April 1917.[15]  He was 19 years old and had been “in the thick of it” for 2 years.  He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals.[16]

Burial

Corporal J.P. Jackson is buried at grave reference I.A.18 Wancourt British Cemetery.  Many burials from small cemeteries and the battlefields were brought into this cemetery after the Armistice.  The cemetery contains 1,936 Commonwealth WW1 burials, 829 remain unidentified.

References:

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales 1837-1915 Birth Index Vol.10a p.269 Auckland 1897 Q4

[3] England & Wales 1837-1915 Marriage Index Vol.10a Auckland p.260 1894 Q3

[4] 1901 and 1911 census

[5] 1901 census

[6] England & Wales 1837-1915 Death Index Vol.10s p.144 Auckland 1906 Q2

[7] 1911 census

[8] Soldiers Died in the Great War & CWGC

[9] Medal Roll card index

[10] www.1914-1918.net/dlt.htm & www.1914-1918.net/50div.htm & http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1915.htm

[11] http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1916.htm

[12] http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1917.htm

[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Arras_%281917%29#Second_Battle_of_the_Scarpe_.2823.E2.80.9324_April_1917.29

[14] “The Fiftieth Division 1914-1919” E. Wyrall 1939 p.215-227

[15] CWGC

[16] Medal Roll card index

Photographs:

JACKSON J.P. Headstone

JACKSON J.P.
Headstone

JACKSON J.P. Medal Roll

JACKSON J.P.
Medal Roll

One thought on “Jackson J.P.

  1. Pingback: BUTTERKNOWLE | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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