DUNNETT, John Thomas

No.F/2621, Private, John Thomas DUNNETT
Aged 27

12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 17th February 1917

John Thomas Dunnett was born at Denver Sluice, Norfolk in 1890 (Downham Q4-1889 4B:34), son of Alfred and Rosanna DUNNETT (née WADE).

1891 census...Aged 3 months, he was at Denver Sluice with his father Alfred DUNNETT [32] boatwright, born Hilgay; his mother Rosanna [24] born Crimplesham, brother Alfred Banham [1] born Denver and aunt Mary WADE [15] born Crimplesham.

1901 census...Aged 10, he was at North Street, Burwell with his parents; brothers Alfred Banham, Arthur H. [8] Robert W. [6] both born in Denver, Bertram [2] and Edward [2months] both born in Burwell, and sister Harriet Rose [7] born Denver.

1911 census...Aged 20, a boat builder, he was at North Street, Burwell with his widower father and brothers Alfred Banham (boat builder), Robert William (gardener) Bertie, Edward and sisters Harriet Ann and Alice [7] born Burwell. His mother had died in 1907.

On 26th December 1912, in Burwell, he married Ada FULLER. Their son Kenneth John was born in Burwell on 31st October 1914. later living at Retail Yard, North Yard, Burwell.

He was a younger brother of Alfred Banham DUNNETT who was killed in Belgium in 1917 see here

He enlisted on 9th December 1915 at Bury St Edmunds, in the Middlesex Regiment, giving his age as 25 years, a gardener from North Street, Burwell. He was 5 feet 7 inches ( 170.2 cm)tall, chest 34" to 37" (86.4 to 94 cm), weighing 118 lbs (53.7 kg), birthplace, Denver, Norfolk. Next of kin was his wife Ada. Posted to the Reserves, he was mobilised on 10th April 1916 in the 27th (Reserve) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. He embarked at Folkestone on 23rd August 1916, going to Boulogne and posted to 17th (1st Footballers) Battalion, he then was transferred to the 12th Battalion and joined them on 6th September 1916.
Admitted to 54 Field Ambulance on 21st November, forwarded to 11 Canadian Field Ambulance, then 44 CCS with trench foot. Released to duty on 2nd November 1916 he was killed in action on 17th February 1917 after 1 year and 71 days service.
His personal effects sent to his widow were just two discs. Her pension for her and one child was 18 shillings and 9 pence (£ 0.95) per week.

His battalion were involved in the battle for Boom Ravine on the river Ancre on the 17th. The Battle of Boom Ravine broke the backbone of the German resistance on the Ancre. To those at home who may have regarded Boom Ravine as a minor obstacle in an otherwise triumphant walk-over, it must have come as a surprise to hear that the casualties that day to the 18th Division totalled 54 officers and 1,135 other ranks. How much of that was due to the treachery of two soldiers is unknown, but two men from a neighbouring division went over to the enemy and told them of the hour of our offensive. That enabled the Germans to lay on an intense barrage as our men assembled in the dark. It was also the first day of the thaw, so the ground was very quickly transformed into a sea of mud.

The 12th Middlesex share of the casualties was 30 killed.

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo: Rodney Gibson

John Dunnett is buried in Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, grave 4:D:7

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details