Private John (Jack) STENSON


Regiment/Service:
Middlesex Regiment
(Duke of Cambridge's Own)
Unit:
3rd Battalion
Service Number:
G/6417
Date of Death:
30 September 1915 - Killed in Action
Age:
25
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Panel 99 -101.

Personal History:
John was born in the June quarter 1890, the son of Peter and Sarah (née Kidd) Stenson of 5 Heaton Place, Fairfield, Buxton. John had an older sister, Margaret, two older brothers, Peter and Joseph Frederick, a younger brother, Tom, and two younger sisters, Alice and Sarah Elizabeth (1901 Census RG 13/3269). John was at School, but also acted as a Caddie at Fairfield Golf Course.

Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/21234) John was still living at home, 1 Heaton Place, Fairfield, and working as a "Delver in Stone Quarry".


Military History:
In August 1914 the 3rd Battalion were in Cawnpore, India, returning to England in December 1914. It moved to Winchester and was attached to 85th Brigade in 28th Division. The Battalion landed at Le Havre 19th January 1915.

John enlisted at Buxton and his Medal Index Card shows he entered France on 2nd May 1915. His service records do not appear to have survived. However, a comparison with other Service Numbers suggests that he enlisted around the middle of December 1914.

John's Battalion took part in The Second battle of Ypres, 22nd April - 25th May 1915, but he would not have arrived until near the end of that Battle, quite possibly as part of the reinforcement. His first major engagement would have been the The Battle of Loos, 25th September - 18th October 1915, and lost his life five days after the start, a few days after his 28th Division had moved south from Ypres, entering the Loos area under Major-General E. Bulfin.

The Battalion War for the day John was killed says this about the action of the day:

"S. FACE was again heavily attacked by German bombers - about 5 a.m. Two Companies of
1/Y.L. (Yorkshire Light Infantry) passed through BIG WILLIE to relieve 2/The Buffs (Royal East
Kent Regiment) who were then on our right holding DUMP TRENCH. The Buffs were withdrawn
and & took up space between our left & right of 3/R.F. (Royal Fusiliers)

About 11 a.m. the German attack became very severe & our bombers were short of bombs &
it was seen that they would have to withdraw again. In consultation with O.C. Buffs it was decided
that if S. FACE had to be evacuated The Buffs would have to withdraw also on account of the
narrowness of the trench, and to give room for the Battn. The left flank of BIG WILLIE had also
been left in thin air.

At about 5 p.m. the garrison of S. FACE was steadily being bombed back. The order was then
given for one Coy to remain in BIG WILLIE, one to reinforce the right of R.F.'s in WEST FACE
& two into the communication trench from WEST FACE to the British front line.

This was done. Later W. FACE was taken by the Germans & Coys reorganised into the old 1st
Leics. trench where they remained until midnight 30 Sept."

The following day, 1st October the Battalion marched to Annequin to billets.

John lost his life during this engagement, one of 57 men to die in action on the 29th / 30th. All but two,
like him, have no known grave and are commemorated on the Loos Memorial.


                              


Footnote:
· Another Buxton man, Pt. Percival INNES, of the same Battalion, was killed in action just three days before John.
  His page gives full details of the earlier action.
Sources:
· I am grateful to Martin O'Neill for the photo of John's name on the Loos Memorial.
· I am aslo grateful to Colin Taylor for the War Diary extracts
· .... and also to Val Stenson, for information from "WW1 'Fallen' of Fairfield", including Jack's photo                                                                             

Commemorated on:
John is also commemorated on his parents' grave in Fairfield Churchyard. [see right]
Link to CWGC Record
John Stenson's name on The Loos Memorial
The Loos Memorial
poppy
Pt John Stenson
about the Battle of Loos
Map of Battle of Loos [September 1915]