25th August 1916

Berkswell-born Rifleman John Timms, 7th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, died of wounds in hospital in France on 25th August 1916, aged 19, and is buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France. He is also commemorated locally on Berkswell war memorial. An employee of the Rover works before the war, he enlisted in the Army in November 1915, five days after his 19th birthday, and embarked for France on 18th April 1916, just over four months before he was fatally wounded.

He was the second of four children (three sons, one daughter) born to parents William Edward, a bricklayer, and Elizabeth Ann, a laundrywoman, who moved from Berkswell to Four Oaks, Meriden between 1901 and 1911. His older brother, William Edward Timms (1895-1973) served as a Private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and saw action on 1st July on the Somme.

An announcement of Rifleman John Timms’ death appeared in the Coventry Standard, 8th September 1916:

After specially qualifying as a bomber, he went to the front in April last, and, up till the time of his death, had seen continuous service in the front trenches. His parents received a letter from the chaplain of the base hospital where he died, saying how serious his wounds were. Very much sympathy has been shown with the parents in their loss, and they are grateful for the kind letters they have received from Meriden, Coventry, and Birmingham. The deceased rifleman always wrote most cheerful letters from the front, and his last, dated August 22, was, like the others, full of cheerfulness and hope.

John Timms’ service record includes a letter from his father explaining that he has heard from the Chaplain who buried his son’s body on 25th August, and seeking further information.

If you have any further details of John Timms or his family, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

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