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John Whiteside – Killed in Action 1916

Thiepval Anglo French Cemetery, France

John Whiteside enlisted with the 1/9th battalion of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) in June 1914 and went to the front the following February, and was wounded in May 1915. He returned to the Front just before Christmas 1915. John was killed in action, at the Somme, on 25th September 1916. John was aged 21 and the son of Mr and Mrs James Whiteside of Shaws Rd, Birkdale. Southport, Lancashire.


Battle of Morval, 25–28 September 1916

The Battle of Morval, 25–28 September 1916, was an attack during the Battle of the Somme by the British Fourth Army on the villages of Morval, Gueudecourt and Lesbœufs held by the German 1st Army, which had been the final objectives of the Battle of Flers–Courcelette (15–22 September). The main British attack was postponed to combine with attacks by the French Sixth Army on the village of Combles south of Morval.

The attack was to close up to the German defences between Moislains and Le Transloy, near the Péronne–Bapaume road (N 17). The combined attack from the Somme river northwards to Martinpuich on the Albert–Bapaume road, was also intended to deprive the German defenders further west near Thiepval of reinforcements, before an attack by the Reserve Army, due on 26 September. The postponement was extended from 21 to 25 September because of rain, which affected operations more frequently during September.

Combles, Morval, Lesbœufs and Gueudecourt were captured and many casualties inflicted on the Germans. The French made slower progress near the inter-army boundary, due to the obstruction of St Pierre Vaast Wood to the French attack north towards Sailly and Sailly-Saillisel. The inter-army boundary was moved north from 27 to 28 September, to allow the French more room to deploy their forces but the great quantity of German artillery-fire limited the French advance. The Fourth Army advance on 25 September was its deepest since 14 July and left the Germans in severe difficulties, particularly in a salient which developed to the north-east of Combles.

To the north of XIV Corps, the 21st Division attacked on the right flank of XV Corps. Two battalions of the 64th Brigade on the right were held up by uncut wire at Gird Trench (Gallwitz Riegel), except for some troops who advanced on the extreme right, in company with the 3rd Guards Brigade. A reserve battalion moved forward to attack the second objective but got no further than the British front trench, due to German artillery fire. The 110th Brigade on the left of the 21st Division took Goat Trench and then machine-gun fire from the right held them up, before the leading battalions reached Gird Trench. Eventually a defensive flank was formed, facing south in part of the Ginchy–Gueudecourt road and a small number of troops got into Gird Trench and gained touch with the 55th (West Lancashire) Division, which had attacked with 165th Brigade and taken Gird Trench early in the afternoon, then gained a foothold in a sunken road between Gird Trench and Gueudecourt at 2:40 p.m., linking with the 21st Division on the right and the New Zealand Division on the left.

War Diaries September 1916

DERNANCOURT 1st September 1916

Weather fine. While in this village the battalion practiced digging Strong Points etc

September 2nd

Weather fine

September 3rd

Weather changeable. Capt H DANIEL and 2/Lieut C R HILL  admitted to hospital

MONTAUBAN ALLEY May 4th – Reserve Trenches

The Battalion proceeded to the Trenches halting at FIBA for dinner. We arrived at MONTAUBAN ALLEY at 5 pm and remained there in reserve. Disposition of our

Companies being. ‘B’ Coy on the right ‘A’ Coy right Centre Coy. ‘D’ Coy left Centre Coy and ‘C’ Coy on the left. Batt Bombers in the Redoubten orchard. The enemy shelled battn HQ with about 12 shortly after we arrived

September 5th

Weather wet. 2/Lieut H R MANSERGH  rejoined the battalion from hospital.

Work carried out making trenches defendable

Casualties: 1 OR KILLED. 1.OR. Wounded.

September 6th

Weather wet.

September 7th

Weather changeable.

The Battalion proceeded to the front line a relieved the 7 KINGS. Disposition of our Coys being ‘D’ Coy on the right, ‘C’ Coy in the centre, B’ Coy on the left. & A Cory in support in ORCHARD trench. The Battn Bombers were in Savoy trench & Battn HQs in CARLTON TRENCH. The right of our line and was at S12A 5.3 the left at S11B.5.6. D Coy also took over two strong points and  C Coy took over one strong point . During the day the enemy was fairly quiet. At night work was commenced connecting to the Strong Points, digging a communication trench along the FLERS Rd front; the front line to the right. Strong Point also extending our left to try and get in touch with the 5th KINGS. This Trench was dug for 130 Yards. 3ft deep. Our left then rested on NORTH. ST. at a point about one prisoner was taken by one of our patrols, during the night


a patrol was sent up to the FLERS Rd for a distance of 350yds and found it was not occupied by the enemy. A Patrol went out in the direction of Slla. 9.8. but could find none  of the enemy. a Patrol also went out and get in touch with the 15th KINGS & reported or TEA TRENCH was not occupied by the enemy. ‘A’ coy afterwards moved up into the front line in the left centre. ‘B’ Coy moving along into new trenches and dug.

The 166th Infantry Brigade was on our right and the 5th KINGS on our left

Casualties. 2.0R killed. 3. OR. wounded, & I OR missing.


weather fine.

During the day the enemy kept up a barrage, (which at times was very intense) along a line DELVILLE WOOD. ORCHARD TRENCH, PEAR TRENCH and WOOD LANE

At night our ‘D’ Coy took over a strong point at 21248.5 from the 10th SCOTTISH. Work was carried on connecting to all the four strong points, we also continued the trench from NORTH St 80 yds in a WESTERLY direction, APPLE TRENGH was also a deepened, a Patrol went up to the FLERS RD for about 300 yds from the junction of Roads S 12 a 55.36 along Road towards FLERS & found none of the enemy. a Patrol of  7 men & Corpl. Bomber left our trenches about s 11B5.5 & proceeded in a nw. direction & when about 100 yds NW of this point the enemy opened fire with two MGS from a faint killing the Corpl. the Patrol returned shortly afterwards and reported this. A patrol went along TEA TRENCH in a Westerly direction & gained touch with the 5th KINGS. They reported the trench much knocked about & dead bodies in it.

At intervals during the night the enemy put up the usual barrage.

Casualties. 1.0R Killed 12 OR wounded


weather fine

Our ‘C’ and ‘D’ Coys were relieved in the front line by two Coys of the 7th KINGS. They also look over the strong Points. On relief C & D Coys proceeded to CARLTON TRENCH where they are remained in reserve. Two Platoons of A coy were withdrawn from the front and put into ORCHARD Trench.

At intervals throughout the day and night the enemy put up the usual barrage

At about 5.10 PM one of our MGs observed an enemy MG in a shell hole about NORTH ST which was firing in the direction of Wood LANE, he opened fire on it and together with a Lewis Gun which was firing from a point where our trenches cuts NORTH ST. Silenced the enemy MG. Later on about 5:30pm a number of Germans without arms probably prisoners broke away from the direction of WOODLANE and ran towards COFFEE Trench. Our Same MG were able to make good practice and scattered the parties scoring many hits. These parties got into Shell holes and during the evening and might a number of red flares were sent up. It is also probably that owing to these lights being sent up the enemy did not shell our front line, being afraid of hitting their own men at the same time enabling us to complete our work of connecting up the strong Point with the front line & continuing the digging of the new trench & joining up with the old TEA TRENCH on our left.

Casualties. 1 OR killed 6 OR wounded


Weather fine. Throughout the day, at intervals the enemy put up the usual barrage.

During the night of 10/11 A and B Coys were relieved in the front line by the 1st New ZEALAND RIFLE Bde in in CARLTON and Savoy TRENCHES. The Coys marched independently back to Bivouac area at FIBA.

Casualties 1. OR KILLED 5 OR. wounded.


 Weather fine

The Battn proceeded to BUIRE-SOOS-CORBIE & went under Canvas.


Weather fine

Coys cleaning up etc

2/Lieut RUSSELL rejoined the battalion from base where he had been instructing drafts for the last 2 months.


Weather changeable

Coy Training carried out.

BUIRE 14th

Weather fine


Weather fine


Weather fine

2.20pm The Battn proceeded to bivouac area

At about 6.30 in the enemy Shelled the camp the Battalion moved to another area.


Weather fine

The Battalion proceeded to the trenches, halting at POMMIER REDOUBT for dinner, we remained there until 4.30 P.N. & then continued the march to the Trenches. We relieved the 11th QUEENS in the front line. The dispositions of our Coys being Battn Bombers on the right A coy in the Centre, B coy on the left. C and D coys were detailed to dig strong Points in front of this line. This they did during the night. C coy than occupied them. D Coy returned to the sunken road. While the relief was in progress the enemy put the an intense barrage between the front line & the sunken road but fortunately, we had few casualties. At intervals throughout the might enemy opened fire with MGs and Rifles & also put up a heavy barrage. They evidently expected us to attack.

FLERS Trenches 18th

Weather Very wet

At intervals throughout the day the enemy put up the usual barrage, along the sunken road.

During the night of the 18/19th the 15th KINGS OWN relieved the Battalion. We then proceeded to York TRENCH which was in a fearful state owing to the rain arriving there at

4 30 AM The men were already drenched.

Casualties sustained. 2/Lieut HR MANSERGH wounded, 4OR Killed, 14 0R wounded 11 0R missing.


Weather wet.

Battn Resting


Weather fine

8 Am The Battalion proceeded to the  bivouac area at POMMIER REDOUBT. and remained there until the 23.9.1916


weather fine


weather fine,

Capt H AGNEW,RAMC. returned to the 2/1 WEST LANCS FIELD AMBULANCE having been relieved by Capt McIVOR

POMMIER Redoubt 23rd
Weather fine
The Battn proceeded to the trenches and relieved the 5th KINGS OWN in the front line. Dispositions of our Coys being A Coy on the right & B Coy on the left in the front line Two platoons of each of the above Coys being in the first assembly trench. Our C coy on the right & D Coy on the left in the second assembly trench. The relief was complete by 10pm.
The enemy artillery was fairly quiet throughout the night.
A fine day and was spent improving the trenches, moving up stores utensils, bombs etc
Our Bombardment of the enemy lines was pretty accurate and lasted all day. Our losses incurred through retaliation were very slight & the night was spent in comparative quietness. All available men were employed in improving the advanced trenches and carrying material to the jumping off point.
Weather fine
at 7.30am on the 25th our barrage line commenced and later on was augmented by a further intense bombardment of the enemy lines and strong points. Everything was ready for the attack to commence. Orders for which we had received on the 24th. ZERO hour being 12.35pm on the 25th. Coys were detailed to attack in four waves in the order they had been placed on the 23rd. The ANZACS were attacking on our left and 6th KINGS on our right. Our artillery put up a creeping barrage about 150 yards in front of our front line. The Battalion then moved forward in four waves 100 yards between each wave with the Battalion Bombers on on the left of each wave. As the barrage crept forward the men followed close up. Very few losses occurred until the enemy position was almost reached. A number of Germans surrendered immediately, the remainder tried to bolt but they were dealt will very effectively by our men. A great number of dead & wounded were found in Grove ALLEY proving that our artillery had done its work very well. The Battalion Bombers now took the enemy’s strong point and fought their way along GROVE ALLEY (a CT leading to the enemy line) and reached their objective by 1:15pm. By 8pm the Battalion had established a line of strong points from the SEVEN DIALS to FATORY CORNER with a Bomb block. They were also in touch with the 6th Kings on the right and the ANZACS on the left. The above line constituted an advance of 1000 yds. At 4-30 pm Battn HQs were moved forward. At 7:30pm a party of 25 men of the 5th KINGS moved forward to assist us in constructing the new line. One Coy of the 8th IRISH moved up into GROVE ALLEY to be in close support.

All available Headqtrs details were organised under 2/Lieut RICHER in carrying ammonition & Bombs up to the new position and to bring back wounded. This party worked all night & were succesful, and bringing all wounded who were lying out. During the night, the enemy shelled the old front line very heavily.

Total Casualties sustained from 23 to 26/9/1916
KILLED Capt. N.L WATTS, 2/lieut HANSEN, 2/lieut AC CHALLENER, 2/lieut EG PODMORE
Died of wounds. 2/lieut AR. HENSHIL WOOD 29/9/1916
Wounded. 2/lieut EW THOMPSON 2/lieut T VICARS. & Major H K S WOODHOUSE
KILLED 24 Other Ranks, WOUNDED 126 other Ranks, MISSING. 15 other Ranks.
Capt N L WATTS body was removed to the cemetery near POMMIER REDOUBT. The other three bodies were buried where they fell, and crosses were erected.
During the morning the Battalions whole position including HQ was subjected to an increasing bombardment by the enemy but the actual damage done was small.
At 8 pm. 2 Companies of the 8th IRISH relieved the Battn. Relief being complete at 1-15am. We then proceeded to YORK TRENCH near GREEN DUMP.
Weather fine.
The battn proceeded to the Camp at BUIRE-SUR-ANCRE, and remained there
until the 1st October.
A draft of 65 OR joined the Battalion as reinforcements
A draft of 21 OR joined the Battalion as reinforcements

The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) – 1/9th Battalion

The Regiment was first formed in 1685 by Lord Ferrars of Chartly as ‘Princess Anne of Denmark’s Regiment of Foot’ after King James II’s second daughter (later Queen Anne).  It was formed in response to the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 when, James Scott the 1st Duke of Monmouth (the oldest illegitimate son of Charles II and James II’s nephew) unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the unpopular King.  His small force was swiftly put down at the Battle of Sedgemoor.  The Regiment was under the command of James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick; the illegitimate son of King James II.  In 1688 James II fled to France when Prince William of Orange was invited by the English Lords to become King William III.  The Duke of Berwick decided to follow his father into exile and was replaced by Colonel John Beamon as the commanding officer of the Regiment.

In 1881 the regiment was renamed The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and in 1921 became The King’s Regiment (Liverpool). The Regiment is one of only four Regiments associated with a city, unlike most British infantry Regiments, which are associated with a county.  The Regiment went on to serve during the Third Burmese War (1885), Second Boer War (1899-1902), and two World Wars.  In 1958 after 273 years of continuous existence, the Regiment was amalgamated with the Manchester Regiment, and became The King’s Regiment (Manchester and Liverpool).  In 2004 the British infantry was restructured once again and the King’s Regiment was merged with King’s Own Royal Border Regiment and The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment to form The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border).

The Regiment formed 49 battalions and were awarded 58 Battle Honours and six Victoria Crosses, losing 15,000 men during the course of the war.

1/9th Battalion
August 1914 : in Everton Road, Liverpool. Part of South Lancashire Brigade, West Lancashire Division.
13 March 1915 : landed at Le Havre and transferred to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division.
12 November 1915 : transferred to 3rd Brigade in same Division.
7 January 1916 : transferred to 165th Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division.
1 February 1918 : transferred to 172nd Brigade, 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division.

Personal Life of John Whiteside

John Whiteside was born 17 Aug 1895 to James and Rebecca (nee Lancaster) Whiteside at Blackburn, Lancashire,, England and baptised on 13 Feb 1896 in St Michael & All Angels, Blackburn. His mother died about Aug 1896 at age of 20 years in Blackburn, Lancashire, England.

His father James Whiteside later married Alice Ambrose about Feb 1900 in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England.

John later had 2 half brothers and 2 half sisters born in Birkdale Lancashire. These were Margaret Ann born in 1903, James born in 1905, Henry born in 1908 and Ellen born in 1911.

John was age 16 and living with his parents in the 1911 UK Census on 2 Apr 1911 at 26 Warren Road in Southport, Ormskirk, Lancashire, England where he was a page boy.

He served in the military Regiment: The King’s (Liverpool Regiment); Rank: Private; Service number: 330471 in 1916, enlisting in June 1914.

John was wounded in May 1915, probably at RICHEBOURG L’AVOUE, France on May 8th when 14 men, in the battalion, were killed and 69 wounded attacking the enemy.

John was killed in action on 25 Sep 1916 at age of 21 years in and is commemorated on Pier and Face 1 D 8 B and 8 C at the Thiepval Memorial, France.

Later, at least 2 more half brothers, John in 1918 and Frank in 1922 were born.

Frank was a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 460 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron. and was killed in Germany on 27 September 1943 and is buried in Hanover War Cemetery.

His father died on 13 Nov 1953 at age of 82 years and his mother died on 5 Nov 1950 at age of 73 years both in Southport, Lancashire, England.

Press Announcements

Southport Visiter 1st September 1917

Private J Whiteside of the King’s Liverpool Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Whiteside of Shaws Rd, Birkdale, has been officially reported wounded and missing. 21 years of age, he joined the forces in June 1914, and went to the Front the following February, and was wounded in May 1915. He returned to the Front just before Christmas. His parents will be grateful for any information concerning him.

Census Records

Grave Details

His war grave details can be seen here.  This links to the Commonwealth Grave Commission’s website.

Remembered in Birkdale Cemetery.

John Whiteside

In Loving Memory of
27th SEPT
WHO DIED APRIL 21st 1919,
OCTOBER 22nd 1916, AGED 21


Cemetery Details – Thiepval Memorial

The Panel numbers (or Pier and Face) quoted at the end of each entry relate to the panels dedicated to the Regiment served with. In some instances where a casualty is recorded as attached to another Regiment, his name may alternatively appear within their Regimental Panel (or Pier and Face). Please refer to the on-site Memorial Register Introduction to determine the alternative panel numbers (or Pier and Face) if you do not find the name within the quoted Panels (or Pier and Face).

Visitors should also note that the location and design of this site makes access for people with limited mobility difficult and people using wheelchairs or mobility scooters may require some help to reach the memorial and the cemetery.

On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter.

In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.

The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932 (originally scheduled for 16 May but due to the death of French President Doumer the ceremony was postponed until August).

The dead of other Commonwealth countries, who died on the Somme and have no known graves, are commemorated on national memorials elsewhere.

You can view the details for this cemetery on the Commonwealth Grave Commission’s website here.

Sources of Information

Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Find My Past

National Archives

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