26952 Private John William Maughan, 12th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry died of pneumonia 27 January 1919 and he is buried in Evenwood Cemetery.[1]  He was 30 years old and is commemorated on Evenwood War Memorial and the Roll of Honour, St. Paul’s Church, Evenwood.

Family Background

John William was born c1889 at Evenwood to Simpson and Alice Maughan.  There were 9 children, all born at Evenwood:[2]

  • Walter bc.1885
  • Ruth bc.1887
  • John William bc.1889
  • Mary bc.1891
  • Mabel bc.1893
  • Elisa Ann bc. 1896
  • Isabel bc.1899
  • Sarah bc.1900
  • Mowbray bc.1901

The 1901 census confirms that the Maughan family were residents of Evenwood and 46 year old Simpson worked as a coal miner (hewer).[3]

John married Elizabeth Gilchrist in January 1910 and a daughter Sarah Alice was born 5 October 1910.[4]  By 1911, the family boarded with Margaret Bowman, daughter Hannah and grandchildren Margaret and Thomas.  They lived at Front Street, Evenwood.[5]  Today, there is no address known as Front Street and it is assumed that the street has been renamed, possibly part of the Centre or Swan Street.  John and Elizabeth had 3 children: [6]

  • Sarah Alice born 5 October 1910 at Evenwood
  • Elizabeth Ann (Sissie) born 22 October 1911  at Evenwood
  • Walter born 22 September 1916 at Auckland

 Military Details

 John William Maughan attested 7 September 1914 aged 25 years 9 months and was posted to the 14th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry and given the regimental number 14702.[7] He underwent a medical examination, was 5’9” tall, weighed 164lbs, fresh complexion, light brown eyes, light brown hair and was considered fit for the Army.[8]  In September 1915 he was posted to the 16/DLI.[9]

7 April 1916:  Private J.W. Maughan entered France.[10]

20 April:  posted to 15/DLI.[11] The 15th (Service) Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry was formed in September 1914 as part of K3, Kitchener’s New Army and came under the orders of the 64th Brigade, 21st Division.[12]  At this time, the 64th Brigade comprised: [13]

  • 9th Bn., the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI)
  • 10th Bn., KOYLI
  • 14th Bn., Durham Light Infantry (DLI)
  • 15th Bn., DLI

22 April:  15/DLI moved to Meaulte to work on trenches.

2 May:  15/DLI went into the front line opposite Fricourt.  After 10 days in the trenches the battalion withdrew to la Neuville and then to Bois de Tailles.

1 June: 15/DLI moved up to support positions with 2 companies in strong points at Becordel.

6 June: another tour in the line and 13 June the 15/DLI was at Buire on the river Ancre.[14]

8 June:  Private John William Maughan was wounded – a gun shot wound to the left leg and admitted to 65 Field Ambulance then the following day, admitted to 21 Casualty Clearing Station. The wound was serious enough for him to be dispatched to England on 14 June via SS Dover Castle for treatment.[15]  A medical report dated 23 June confirms that “A fragment of shell was removed” and he spent 86 days at the Scottish General Hospital, Glasgow (?) being discharged 9 September 1916.  There was no major offensive in the British sector during June so the wound must have been as a consequence of the normal violence of war – sniper fire, machine-gun fire or shrapnel.

23 January 1917:  Private J.W. Maughan was sent back to France joining the 12/DLI.[16]   He suffered other ailments in April 1917 such as impetigo and was admitted to hospital in Etaples in June 1917.  He rejoined his unit on the 6 August 1917.[17]

The Italians entered the war on the Allied side in May 1915.  The Caporetto disaster in the autumn of 1917 threatened the Italian campaign so several French and 5 British Divisions were sent Italy from the Western Front.  Commonwealth forces were at the Italian front between November 1917 and November 1918.

8 November 1917:  12/DLI formed part of the 68th Brigade in the 23rd Division and commenced the move and spent the remainder of the war on the Italian Front.  26952

13 November:  Private John William Maughan was with 12/DLI and entered Italy. [18]

252054 Private Mark Goliath Middlemass from Stones End, Evenwood also served with the 12/DLI and served in Italy.

The Battle of Vittorio Venato:  23 October – 4 November 1918: an overview

 21 October 1918:  Commonwealth Forces comprising XIV Corps (7th and 23rd Divisions) took over the part of the River Piave from Salletuol to Pallazon serving as part of the Italian Tenth Army.

23 October: at night, the main channel of the river was crossed using small boats and the northern half of the island of Grava di Papadopoli was occupied, the occupation being completed two nights later by a combined Commonwealth and Italian force. After the capture of the island, the bridging of the Piave proceeded rapidly, although the strength of the current meant that the two bridges built for the crossing were frequently broken and many men were drowned. The Allied attack east of the Piave began early in the morning 27 October. Despite stiff resistance and difficulties with bringing forward supporting troops across the river, the Austrians were forced back over the next few days until the Armistice came into effect on 4 November.

There can be no doubt that the Allied forces led by the British heavily defeated the Austrians at Vittorio Venato and this caused anxiety within the German High Command which influenced their decision to sign the Armistice 11 November 1918.

12/DLI:  an account of action in October 1918 [19]

The War Diary includes the following details:

  • 01.10.18 to 03.10.18: Battalion training
  • 05.10.18: moved to Montecchio Maggiore
  • 06.10.18: moved to Arzignano
  • 14.10.18: entrained to Vicenza
  • 15.10.18: detrained at Mestre, marched to billets at Mirano
  • 21.10.18: marched from Mirano to Sambughe
  • 22.10.18: marched from Sambughe to Treviso
  • 23.10.18: marched from Treviso to Catena
  • 24.10.18: moved up to Assembly Point A but returned to Catena.

27 October 1918:

“At 6.45am, the advance on to the Green Dotted Line commenced. Very deep, swift water was found in the most northerly area of the Piave and whilst wading this, the Battalion suffered heavily from MG fire, the leading Company losing nearly 50% of its strength. Companies reorganised and pressed forward, to be held up by uncut wire close to the objective, which was strongly held. The wire was cut most gallantly by various parties, amongst whom Capt. Gibbens MC DCM, Sgt O’Hara and Pte Brown were conspicuous. The Battalion pressed on, and C Company captured the first objective. D Company pushed on, overcoming all obstacles and captured the Red Dotted Line (second objective). A Company with B Company (now very weak) pushed steadily on and together captured Blue Dotted Line (the road from C. Padovan to C. Benedetti). Here orders were received as the Italians on the left of the Brigade had failed to cross the Piave, no further advance would be made. The Battalion organised a reserve near C. Borazzuni. Battalion HQ at C. Borazzuni. Major E. Borrow DSO was taken from the Battalion to command the 11th Northumberland Fusiliers, vice Lt-Col St. Hill DSO killed.

The Battalion this day captured 3 guns, 2 heavy Trench Mortars, 2 Tank Guns, several hundred prisoners and many machine guns. Our casualties were 2/Lts Hodgson and Fisher, killed; Capt Gibbens MC DCM, 2/Lts Smith and Wade wounded. RSM Burton DCM was killed after the capture of the first objective by a ricochet bullet. 27 other ranks killed, 111 wounded and 11 missing. The night was quiet.”

27 October:  252054 Private Mark Goliath Middlemass 12/DLI [from Evenwood] and 315180 Private Ralph Alexander Kirkup, 11th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers [from Cockfield] were killed in action 27 October 1918 and are buried in Tezze British Cemetery.[20]

28 October: at 12.30 the advance was resumed to the Borgo Pin – C. Gaiot.  Considerable opposition from the enemy’s rear guard was met with and overcome.  Many prisoners captured. Casualties 3 Other Ranks killed 20 wounded.

29 October: midnight – the crossing over the Monticano River, NE of Mareno was seized and the advance resumed with the objective being the Conegliano Cervaro road.

At dark, about 18.00 hours, Battalion HQ with B Company seized the large strong house at K 34.50 52.25 (Vazzola 1/25000) about 200 yards short of the objective and determined to hold this point, and by holding it retain command of the ground won. Largely through the gallantry of L/Cpl Nelson, touch was regained with C and D Companies, and they were moved forward into position.

By 3.30am, the whole Battalion was in position close in rear of their objective with posts on the objective. So roughly had the Austrians been handled that under cover of darkness he abandoned his very strong position, leaving a battery of 5.9 inch guns in our hands. Many acts of gallantry were performed this day which will go unrecorded. A fine display of determination to succeed was given by every officer and soldier, and to this alone can success be attributed. Many prisoners were taken. Casualties this day: 7 ORs killed, 19 wounded, 2 missing. Lt W.M. Blenkinsop wounded.”

30 October:  The 70th Brigade passed through our front and the 68th Brigade followed in Divisional Reserve…The Battalion went into billets at Orsago at 20.00 hours.  Casualties this day: 2 Other Ranks, 3 Other Ranks wounded one missing.

31 October: marched to Sacile where we went into billets, the enemy opposition having been overcome:

“During the battle 27th-29th, the total loss of the Battalion was: 2 officers killed, 4 wounded. 39 ORs killed, 153 wounded, 14 missing. During the same period the Battalion captured 1020 prisoners, 18 horses, 7 GS limbers, 4 gun limbers, 46 machine guns,2 anti tank guns, 2 Anti Aircraft guns, 4 6-inch howitzers, 4 5.9 inch guns and 2 heavy Trench Mortars, vast quantities of ammunition of all calibres.”

1 December:  Private John William Maughan survived the campaign and was awarded 15 days leave.

5 December: he was admitted into the Military Hospital at Catterick Camp suffering from pneumonia.

27 January 1919:  Private J.W. Maughan died.[21]

Private J.W. Maughan served as follows:[22]

  • Home: 7 September 1914 – 6 April 1916
  • France: 7 April 1916 – 15 June 1916
  • Home: 16 June 1916 – 22 January 1917
  • France: 23 January 1917 – 12 November 1917
  • Italy: 13 November 1917 – 4 December 1918
  • Home: 5 December 1918 – 27 January 1919

Private J.W. Maughan was awarded the British War and Victory medals.[23]

News of his Death

Because of the death of Rev G.J. Collis in September 1918, the Evenwood Church Magazine ceased publication and with it reports of local news associated with the war.  The magazine did not appear regularly until Rev. Ragg was established in the village.  The edition of April 1919 includes a list of burials from July 1918 to the end of February 1919 and includes the following reference:

1919 Jan. 30 – John Wm. Maughan, aged 30 years, Catterick Camp, Yorks.[24]


Private J.W. Maughan is buried in Evenwood Cemetery.  The date on the headstone is 29 January 1919 but the actual date of death was 27 January 1919.


Private John William Maughan is commemorated on Evenwood War Memorial and the Roll of Honour, St. Paul’s Church, Evenwood.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] 1901 & 1911 census

[3] 1901 census

[4] Army Form W5080

[5] 1911 census

[6] Army Form W5080

[7] Army Form B.

[8] Description on Enlistment

[9] Statement of the Services

[10] Military History Sheet

[11] Army Form B.103



[14] “The Durham Forces in the Field 1914-18: the Service Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry” 1920 Capt. W. Miles p.38

[15] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service

[16] Statement of the Services

[17] Army Form B.103

[18] Military History Sheet

[19] – “The Long Long Trail”  12/DLI War Diary

[20] CWGC

[21] Medical Case Sheet

[22] Military History Sheet

[23] Medal Roll

[24] Evenwood Church Magazine April 1919

[25] Medical Case Sheet


[27] Hanson p.298



Maughan JW and sister Sarah

Maughan JW and sister Lizzie Ann [believed to be]

MAUGHAN J.W. Headstone

MAUGHAN J.W. Headstone  Evenwood Cemetery