Sunday, June 15, 2014
21370 L/Cpl John William Williams, Northumberland Fusiliers
Lance-Corporal John William Williams of the Northumberland Fusiliers was a patient at Beechland House in 1917 after being wounded at the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. His entry in Nurse Oliver’s album reads:
21370 L/Cpl J W Williams 24/27th Northumberland Fusiliers
Wounded October 21st 1917 Near Ypres
He shares the page in her album with entries from Private Angus McKenzie of the 1/5th Seaforth Highlanders, 801298 Gunner John William Thurgood of the Royal Field Artillery, 21/1522 Private Charles Edward Harrald of the 24th Northumberland Fusiliers and Corporal W R D F Reynolds.
John Williams’ medal index card at The National Archives states that he arrived in France on 13th July 1915. His entry on the British War and Victory Medal Roll gives four battalions: 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, 27th Northumberland Fusiliers and the Durham Light Infantry.
The 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers arrived in France on 18th Jan 1915 having been stationed in India and John Williams would have been part of a draft when he joined the battalion a few months later. I am not sure when or why he transferred to the 1st Battalion and then to the 27th; maybe he had been wounded and on recovery was posted to a different battalion. While the 1st and 2nd Battalions were regular battalions, the 27th was a service battalion (also known as the 4th Tyneside Irish). It had been raised at Newcastle in January 1915 and later formed part of the 103rd Brigade in the 34th Division. It went to France in January 1916. On 10th August 1917 it was amalgamated with the 24th Battalion to form the 24/27th Northumberland Fusiliers and it was while serving with this newly merged battalion that John Williams was wounded.
After recovering at Beechland House, John was transferred again, this time to the Durham Light Infantry, remaining with this regiment until discharged, probably in 1919. His army service number with the DLI was 83497.
No full service record for John Williams survives but thanks to findmypast's superior indexing of WO 363 and WO 364 one fragment with his name mentioned has survived (above). This shows that he was admitted to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital on the 28th October 1917, seven days after he was wounded.
Sources and Acknowledgements
• The National Archives: Medal Index Card
• The National Archives: British War and Victory Medal Roll: O/1/103 B44: Page 8652: WO 329/1629
• The National Archives: 1914/15 Star Medal Roll: O/1/ 7c: Page 128
• British Regiments 1914-18 by Brigadier E A James OBE TD (Samson Books, 1978)