Rose J.T.

JOHN THOMAS ROSE (1894-1917)

16048 Private John Thomas Rose, 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own) was killed in action 13 March 1917 and is buried in Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras. [1]  He was 22 years old and is commemorated on the Copley War Memorial and the Memorial Plaque in St. John the Evangelist Church, Lynesack.

Family Details

John Thomas Rose was born 1894 at Alnwick, Northumberland [2] to George and Amy Rose.  There were at least 10 children:

  • Martha bc.1885 at Greatham, Co. Durham
  • Jeffrey George bc.1887 at Guisborough, Yorkshire
  • Amelia bc.1889 at Redcar, Yorkshire
  • Frederick W. bc.1892 at Amble, Northumberland
  • Alfred bc.1893 at Rothbury, Northumberland
  • John Thomas bc.1895 at Newton Moor, Northumberland
  • Violet bc.1896 at Newton Moor, Northumberland
  • Amy Elizabeth bc.1899 at Thornaby, Yorkshire
  • Charlotte bc.1901 at Northumberland
  • Flo bc.1902 at Northumberland

In 1911, the family lived at Benty Close, Copley, Butterknowle and 50 year old George was described as “a manager of a coal mine.”  His sons worked as coal miners, 24 year old Jeffrey was a horse-keeper, 20 year old Frederick was a shaftsman, 19 year old Alfred was a hand putter and 17 year old Thomas was a putter.  Violet was a lady maid. [3]  In 1901, Amy and her young family lived at High Street, Barton near Croft, North Yorkshire.  George was not “at home”. [4]  In 1891, Amy lived with her parents, George and Mary at Seaton Carew and her 3 children, Martha, George and Amelia. [5]

Service Details

John Thomas Rose attested 14 November 1914 at Sunderland and was posted 25 November 1914. He entered the Balkan theatre of war 28 September 1915 viz. the Gallipoli Campaign. [7]

The 2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment did not serve in Gallipoli [8] but the 6th battalion did. [9]  There is a photograph of Private J.T. Rose which appeared in the local press and confirms that he served with the 6/Yorks.  It is therefore assumed that J.T. Rose served with the 6th Battalion in Gallipoli then was transferred at a later date (as yet unknown) into the 2nd battalion.  He was given the regimental number 16048. [10]

The 6th (Service) Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment was formed at Richmond, North Yorkshire as part of K1, Kitchener’s New Army and came under the orders of the 32nd Brigade, 11th Division.  Battalions in the 32nd Brigade were:

  • 9th, West Yorkshire Regiment
  • 6th East Yorkshire Regiment left December 1914
  • 6th, Yorkshire Regiment
  • 6th, York & Lancaster Regiment
  • 8th, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment joined January 1915 left February 1918
  • 32nd MCG formed March 1916
  • 32nd Trench Mortar Battery joined July 1916

In June 1915, much of the Brigade left Liverpool for Muldros and disembarked in July 1915.  The Brigade was part of the invasion force which landed at Suvla Bay on the night of 7 August 1915.  Private J.T. Rose entered the Balkans Theatre 28 September 1915. Some 11 officers and 788 other ranks joined the battalion.  The war diaries for September and October contain little more than “nothing to report”.  In November, the authorities decided to withdraw from Gallipoli  [11] and 6/Yorks evacuated Gallipoli 19/20 December 1915 spending some time in Egypt before landing in France, July 1916. [12]  The date when Private J.T. Rose joined the 2/Yorks has not been researched.

In December 1915, 2/Yorks came under the orders of the 21st Brigade, 30th Division [13]

Private J.T. Rose was wounded 23 September 1916 at Thiepval on the Somme and subsequently spent some time at home before returning to his battalion. (refer to press report below)

In January 1917, the battalion received a draft so perhaps Private J.T. Rose was part of this influx of men.  The German Army commenced its retreat to the Hindenburg Line 14 March which continued until 5 April 1917 and the 30th Division as part of the 7th Corps, Third Army took part in the pursuit. [14]  A German account of the retreat is given below:

“The villages we passed through on our way had the look of vast lunatic asylums.  Whole companies were set to knocking down walls or sitting on rooftops uprooting the tiles.  Trees were cut down, windows smashed; wherever you looked, clouds of smoke and dust rose from vast piles of debris.  We saw men dashing about wearing suits and dressers left behind by the inhabitants with top hats on their heads.  With destructive cunning they found the root-trees of houses, fixed ropes to them and with concerted shouts, pulled till they all come tumbling down.  Others were swinging pile-driving hammers and went around smashing everything that got in their way, from the flowerpots on the window sills to whole ornate conservatories.

 As far back as the Siegfried Line, every village was reduced to rubble, every tree chopped down, every road undermined, every well poisoned, every basement blown up or booby trapped, every rail unscrewed, every telephone wire rolled up, everything burnable burnt; in a word, we were turning the country that our advancing opponents would occupy into a wasteland.

 As I say, the scenes were reminiscent of a madhouse, and the effect of them was similar: half funny, half repellent. They were also, we could see right away, bad for the men’s morale and honour. Here, for the first time, I witnessed wanton destruction that I was later in life to see to excess; this is something that is unhealthily bound up with the economic thinking of our age, but it does more harm than good to the destroyer, and dishonours the soldier.

 Among the surprises we’d prepared for our successors were some truly malicious inventions. Very fine wires, almost invisible, were stretched across the entrances of buildings and shelters, which set off explosive charges at the faintest touch. In some places, narrow ditches were dug across roads, and shells hidden in them. A nail had been driven into the plank, only just above the shell-fuse. The space was measured so that marching troops could pass over the spot safely, but the moment the first lorry or field gun rumbled up, the board would give, and the nail would touch off the shell. Or there were spiteful time bombs that were buried in basements of undamaged buildings. They consisted of two sections, with a metal partition going down the middle. In one part was explosive, in the other acid. After these devil’s eggs had been primed and hidden, the acid slowly, over weeks, eroded the metal partition, and the set off the bomb.

 One such device blew up the town hall of Bapaume just as the authorities had assembled to celebrate victory.” [15]

 The Green Howard’s regimental history states:

“By the beginning of the year 1917 the British front had been increased to 120 miles, held in the north to south or left to right in the following order of armies; the Second about Ypres, the First in the Armentieres district, the Third thence to the south of Arras then came the Fifth, while the Fourth joined onto the French.

The 2nd Battalion, the Green Howards spent the early part of January about Bailleulval and Le Souich refitting, training the drafts which here joined and cutting wood in the forest of Lucheus, this work all greatly interfered with heavy falls of snow.  Then about the 26th the Battalion moved to Mondicourt and was employed on a new railway there under construction but after some 10 days of this work the Battalion marched via Humber court and Beaumetz to Achicourt where it moved up into the line relieving a battalion of the 14th Division; here A Company was in the front line, B Company at Agny and the remainder of the Battalion in reserve at Achincourt.  When relieved the Green Howards were in divisional reserve at Beaumetz, furnishing many working parties, particularly on the construction of a Corps cable trench in Beaumetz and Berneville.  Then at the end of the month the Battalion moved to Arras where it was for some days employed under the R.E.

By this time, the Germans were everywhere falling back and more than once the 30th Division was under the orders to move forward and help to take up the pursuit.  By the 19th March however, “our advance had reached a stage at which the increasing difficulty of maintaining our communications made it imperative to slacken the pace of our pursuit.  South of Peronne, the River Somme, the bridges over which had been destroyed by the retreating enemy, presented a formidable obstacle.  North of Peronne, the wide belt of devastated country over which the Somme battle had been fought offered even greater difficulties to the passage of guns and transport.” [16]

Private J.T. Rose was the only soldier serving with 2/Yorks to be killed in action 13 March 1917 which was one day prior to the pursuit of the German Army to the Hindenburg Line.

The battalion war diary contains little detail:

“Arras

13 March 1917

All Battalion at work on cable trench and RE work

14 March 1917

Morning working on cable trench.  Afternoon Btn. Moved to Simencourt.”

It is likely that he was subject to the usual hate of warfare – gunshot wound from sniper fire or machine-gun, shrapnel wound from shell fire.  Between 1 January and 13 March 1917, the 2/Yorks lost 7 other ranks killed in action or died of wounds. [17]

Private J.T. Rose was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War and Victory medals. [18]

Press Reports: County Chronicle Thursday 23rd November 1916

“Pte. J.T. Rose has been home on ten days leave.  He was wounded on 23rd September and has been in hospital at Boulogne.  Pte. Rose has seen service in the Dardenelles from whence he was removed to France, being wounded at Thiepval.  He left on Saturday for Rugely, previous to returning to the front.”

Date unconfirmed

“Mr. and Mrs. G. Rose received information last week that their youngest son Pte. J.T. Rose was killed in action in France while out with a fatigue party.  Pte. Rose had just been back in the trenches a short while.  He joined up shortly after the outbreak of war and went to the Dardenelles in September 1915, from whence he was removed to France, where he was injured last September.  An officer of the battalion in a letter to his mother and father, speaks highly of Pte. Rose and expresses his sorrow at loosing so good a soldier.  Much sympathy is felt for his bereaved parents and brothers and sisters.”

Burial

Private J.T. Rose is buried at grave reference III.F.29, Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras.  There are about 2650 Commonwealth WW1 burials in the cemetery. [19]

References:

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] 1837-1915 England & Wales Birth Index Vol.10b p.394 Alnwick Q3 1894

[3] 1911 census

[4] 1901 census

[5] 1891 census

[6] Records may be held with the Green Howards Museum, Richmond, North Yorkshire

[7] Service Records & Medal Roll card index

[8] http://www.1914-1918.net/7div.htm

[9] http://www.1914-1918.net/11div.htm

[10] Medal Roll card index

[11] “The Green Howards in the Great War” H.C. Wylly 1926 p.187-8

[12] http://www.1914-1918.net/11div.htm

[13] http://www.1914-1918.net/yorks.htm

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

[15] “Storm of Steel” E. Junger 1920 p.127-8 translated by M. Hoffmann 2003

[16] Whylly p.83-84

[17] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[18] Medal Roll card index

[19] CWGC

Photographs:

ROSE J.T. Press Photo

ROSE J.T.
Press Photo

ROSE J.T. Headstone

ROSE J.T.
Headstone

ROSE J.T. Medal Roll

ROSE J.T.
Medal Roll

One thought on “Rose J.T.

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

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