The mystery of JM Wilson

Peter Taylor

The name JOHN NEWMAN WILSON appears on the Warton memorial. The only name from the Commonwealth War Grave data base which was a possibility was John Newby from Dalton in Fumess. (Below)

Gunner 14189 104th Bty. 22nd Bde., Royal Field Artillery
who died on Sunday 1 April 1917 . Age 36 . 

Additional Information: Son of James and Jane Wilson, of Kirkby-in-Furness; husband of Catherine Wilson, of 133, Kent St., Barrow-in-Furness. 

Born in Dalton In Furness and enlisted in Barrow.

Cemetery: ERVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY Pas de Calais, France Grave or Reference Panel Number: E. 7.letter of commendation to Corporal Wilson (click to enlarge)

However during further research, Mr Wilson, of Wilson’s Funeral Directors in Warton, is sure that the detail of that soldier does not fit. His father was a nephew of the John Newman Wilson on the Memorial and is in possession of a letter of commendation to Corporal Wilson a facsimile of which is shown on the left. I found that reading the simple statement from the General, on the original document yellowed with age, a most moving experience.

The Soldiers Died in The Great War database does not record a Wilson with the number 3666; four soldiers with that number are listed but none from the King’s Own. The Regimental Museum have a record of a Kings Own soldier by the name of RALSTON with this number. He is ROBERT RALSTON from the 1/4th Battalion who is commemorated on the Caton War Memorial. He was renumbered 240286 and was killed 28 April 1918.

The history of the 1/5th, written by their Quartermaster Capt Hodgkinson in 1920, contains a roll of honour of the soldiers killed in the Great War. There is no J M WILSON listed, but a JOHN WILSON, from Carnforth, with the number 241176I listed. There is no WILSON on the Carnforth Memorial. The 1914/15 Roll of the 1/5th Battalion, compiled by Peter Donnelly Curator of the Regimental Museum, list a 3366 Corporal Wilson, from Carnforth, renumbered 241176. Thus it would seem certain that this J WILSON is indeed the one, and the letter of commendation from the General contains a small typing error in the number 3666 – which should be 3366 – an easy mistake. Thus the entry from The Commonwealth War Grave Data Base for John Wilson from Warton is that shown below:


Corporal 241176 (Formerly 3366) 1st/5th, King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
who died on Friday 30 November 1917

Commemorated on the CAMBRAI Memmorial, LOUVERAL Nord France Panel 3

The relatives confirm that GEORGE MILES WILSON, also listed on the Warton War Memorial was a cousin of John Newman Wilson.