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Pte John T Cawthorne 6231/202799 1/4th Bn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry


Marks13
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After a walk around my area of Sheffield earlier I passed a cemetery located in Handsworth, Sheffield in the grounds of st Marys church. In the church is the grave of John T Cawthorne who died 29th July 1917. According to commonwealth graves commission records he served with the 1/4th Bn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry service number 6231 and 202799 .

On looking into Johns history  I’ve found his pension records held by the Western Front Association. His mother was awarded a pension after Johns death, his pension states he died of shell poisoning 29th July 1917. Johns medal card doesn’t really provide any further information about John other than his service numbers and that he qualified for the British War and victory medal.

His battalion was in the area the Nieuport defences in July 1917. During the night of the 21st 22nd July 1917 they were subjected to what is described in the war diary of a heavy bombardment in which a large quantity of the new mustard gas shells were used. The 1/4th in support at the time were the chief sufferers. The gas attack was repeated twice. The other ranks casualties were 486 gassed .

So I’m just thinking would it be a fair assumption that John was gassed during the attack and unfortunately died whilst at home ? Ive also noted on the Sheffield roll of honour John is to have died of wounds. Ive unfortunately not come across any more information about John.

 

Lest we forget .

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1 hour ago, Marks13 said:

After a walk around my area of Sheffield earlier I passed a cemetery located in Handsworth, Sheffield in the grounds of st Marys church. In the church is the grave of John T Cawthorne who died 29th July 1917. According to commonwealth graves commission records he served with the 1/4th Bn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry service number 6231 and 202799

Just a quick note regarding forenames and surname to watch out for.

I note:

= CWGC have as JT CAWTHORNE [with an "E"] - It would be expected that I/CWGC would have checked this spelling

But:

= MIC as John T CAWTHORN [without an "E"]

= Pension card at WFA/Fold3 has as John Thomas CAWTHORNE [with an "E" - as a later addition it appears]

Pension records also have alternatively as Pte. John Thomas CAWTHORN [without an "E"]

Pension card(s) both give his mother as claimant as Mrs Ann Cawthorn, 4 Hall Rd, Handsworth, Rother Vale, nr. Sheffield.

And also see further below - CAWTHORNE seems correct

 

1 hour ago, Marks13 said:

I’m just thinking would it be a fair assumption that John was gassed during the attack and unfortunately died whilst at home ?

It's certainly a probability he died in the UK, a possibility at home [in Sheffield??] - exactly where in UK seems uncertain.

That said the GRO have a death of a

CAWTHORNE, JOHN  THOMAS   29  

GRO Reference: 1917  S Quarter in NORTHAMPTON  Volume 03B  Page 81

which would seem to be a likely match for a birth which looks like his

CAWTHORNE, JOHN  THOMAS   WHEELER  
GRO Reference: 1886  D Quarter in SHEFFIELD  Volume 09C  Page 588

and age given by CWGC

So I would be looking for hospital records [admissions/discharges] in that Northampton area I think.

Which hospital was near there? - LLT gives Northamptonshire War Hospital. Formerly the Northamptonshire County Asylum at Northampton.

Confirmatory causation may perhaps be revealed that way - We hope! [though I fear may be a challenge to find - and I feel likely to be beyond me]

Otherwise it may be a case of obtaining a Death Certificate.

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
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As you say, his pension card record states he died from gas shell poisoning.

 

You can be confident that he suffered that during the Nieuport actions you have described. I have studied the medical evacuation chain from this sector for some time (see link below), and I can confirm that there was ample opportunity for him to have been evacuated all the way to the UK after being affected.

 

A plot of the 1/4th Bn KOYLI fatalities for July 1917 is shown here - quite a number of these are buried in base hospital areas having been evacuated that far before succumbing to their gas poisoning wounds. He evidently got a bit further before he succumbed.

 

Regards

 

Russ

 

 

 

 

1-4 KOYLI Fatalties.JPG

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53 minutes ago, sadbrewer said:

From the Sheffield Independent Aug 11th, 1917

 

Good spot.

 

And here he is appearing in the official War Office Casualty List dated 25th August 1917 in a very long list of KOYLI wounded casualties (the snip below just covers surnames beginning .A, B and the first part of C).

 

Given that the War Office lists reported casualties typically circa 4 weeks after the actual event, then his  date of wounding is entirely consistent with that reported in the Sheffield Independent newspaper above as being 22nd July 1917.

 

Regards

 

Russ

 

Cawthorne.JPG

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Thank you to all of you for your responses all the information is really helpful in understanding what happened to John. The events of that month certainly took a heavy toll on the 1/4th Bn KOYLI s including John eventually losing his life, very sobering having a casualty buried so close to home. John is certainly on my ever increasing list of individuals to carry out further research when time allows.

 

mark 

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