Remembered Today:Gunner John INSCOE, 62nd Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery, who died on 15th September 1917, Arras Memorial
Service No: 31730
Date of Death: 15/09/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery "Y" 62nd T.M. Bty.
Panel Reference Bay 1.
Memorial ARRAS MEMORIAL
Born in 1895, John Inscoe enlisted in Wolverhampton Sfaffordshire. His 1911 Cenus entry records his occupation as a metal worker (general), and living with his parents, Albert and Susan, together with brother Howard at 6 Manlove Street, Wolverhampton. The cenus records that by 1911 Susan Incscoe had given birth to 5 children, three of whom are recorded as died. She would loose a fourth child on 15th September 1917.
He serving with Y 62nd Trench Mortary battery and the begining of August 1917 the trench moratrs had gone into the line in the area of BULLECOURT, near ARRAS.
on the 15th September the battery was lenat to the 50th division to conduct a trench raid. The record from the War Services of the 62nd Divisional Artillery records "Previously Y Battery had only had two men killed, and so were able to man their four guns.The German barrage was again very heavy, and we suffered severely. Round one gun were grouped about a hundred bombs ready for firing, and exactly what happened we shall never know, but the lot were detonated. The detachment was of course blown to atoms, and at the next gun two men were killed by the explosion as well as Lieut. Harris"
Those recorded on the Arras memorial from the 62nd Trench Mortars are Gunners William Ingram (21) , John Inscoe (22) and Edward Kerrigan (18)
Information from Beckminster Methodist Church War memorial Penn Fields
The son of Albert and Susan Inscoe of Lorne Terrace, Church Road Bradmore, when he died John Inscoe was Gunner 31730 of the 62nd Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery. Although normally attached to the 62nd West Riding Division, which had only arrived in France in March 1917, two Companies, 'Y/62' and 'Z/62' Trench Mortar Batteries were seconded to the 50th Division for a raid carried out on September 15th that year.
Their position was in a little-used trench about 150 yards behind their own front line opposite Cherisy in the Arras area of France. This trench had previously suffered very little from the German barrage, and it was expected that casualties there would be slight. In the event, this trench received about 75 percent of the total German Barrage that day. Earlier John’s Battery had had few casualties, but now they suffered severely. Around one gun were grouped about a hundred bombs ready for firing, and exactly what happened we shall never know, but at 7.40 pm. the whole lot were detonated. There would have been nothing left for his comrades to bury. He was 21 years old. John’s elder brother Howard is also on the church memorial as having served. John is officially commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
Extracts from War Services of the 62nd Divisional Artillery
On about this date one of my trench mortar batteries
went into action in Bullecourt.
They are in a ruin in the middle of the village. You get to
them by first entering an old cellar in another ruin, and then
scrambling down a sloping tunnel to an underground chamber
about 30 feet below the surface of the ground. Here the detach-
ment live. Then you crawl up another tunnel, and emerge into
the ruin which holds the mortar emplacements.
I think that the trench mortar batteries had, on the
whole, while they were in action, the most uncomfortable
and dangerous job of any troops in the line. The
infantry, while recognising their great value, objected
not unnaturally to have such favourite objects of the
enemy's attentions in any position near their dug-outs
or much frequented trenches ; and, as it was necessary
that the mortars should be sited as close as possible to
the enemy's front line, and yet, for the above reason,
not too near the infantry, it followed that the only
available positions were usually in unpopular spots
shunned by all who had any choice in the matter, and
generally bearing such significant titles as Hell Fire
Point, V.C. Corner, Deadman's Gulley, etc. The
unfortunate detachments lived underground for practi-
cally the whole of their tour of duty, as it was often
impossible to get to and from their emplacements during
the daylight ; and, owing to shortage of men, their tours
of duty were generally two or three times as long as those
of the infantry. When I went to visit them, I could
nearly always promise myself an exciting walk with
plenty of thrills in it. I retain lively recollections of
crawling with Lindsell or Anderson, guided by Powell,
the D.T.M.O., along shallow trenches, or places where
trenches had been before they were demolished, and
finally diving down into the ground to find ourselves,
when the eyes got used to the subterranean darkness,
in the midst of a party of smiling jolly looking gunners.
They were a cheerful lot, and, after all, they had their
compensations. There were times when there was no
scope for the use of trench mortars, and then they would
sometimes get a rest for several weeks at a time, in some
pleasant billet well back from the firing line ; and when
they did get a rest, it was well deserved.
" Y/62 and Z/62 trench mortar batteries were lent
to the 50th Division for a raid they carried out on
September 15th, 1917. The field guns and trench
mortars provided a box barrage, the latter putting their
contributions at each side, while the field guns shelled
the enemy's support trenches.
" Our positions were in a little-used trench about
150 yards behind our own front line, opposite Cherisy.
This trench had previously suffered very little from
the German barrage, and it was expected that casualties
there would be slight. The wire was not cut from any
of these positions, and guns not even registered from
" The first portion of the raid was carried out from
4 p.m. to 4.40 p.m., and was completely successful.
The Battalion which went over the top was commanded
by the late Brig.-General Bradford, V.C., then Colonel,
who afterwards came to the 62nd Division as a Brigade
" As ill luck would have it (I cannot think it anything
else), the trench the mortars were in received about
75 per cent, of the total German barrage, and casualties
were so heavy among Z battery that they were unable
to man their guns for the full length of time. Lieut.
G. A. Craven was so severely wounded that he died the
same evening, while Lieut. W. Wooliscroft was wounded,
and most of the men either killed or wounded.
" At 7.40 p.m. half a battalion went over the top again,
and in this case also the results were all that could have
been desired. Previously Y Battery had only had two
men killed, and so were able to man their four guns.
The German barrage was again very heavy, and we
suffered severely. Round one gun were grouped about
a hundred bombs ready for firing, and exactly what
happened we shall never know, but the lot were
detonated. The detachment was of course blown to
atoms, and at the next gun two men were killed by the
explosion as well as Lieut. Harris. One man alone was
left unharmed, and after carrying some wounded under
cover, he returned and manned his gun single-handed
until the raid was over.
"We went to the raid 4 officers and about 40 other
ranks, and returned to our Division 1 officer and 6 other
I received the following letter from the G.O.C.R.A.,
50th Division :
' Will you please thank your fellows very much for
the good work they did for us yesterday. I am most
awfully sorry your trench mortars had such a bad time.
It was just bad luck ; the Boche put down a barrage
where he had never put one down before, and caught
them. It was most unfortunate. I can't tell you how
sorry I am about it."
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