G/8727, Private, John Caswell TIMMINS
Aged 24

7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday 7th July 1916

Born in Cheltenham in Q2-1892 [Cheltenham 6a:433], the 5th of 7 sons of William and Matilda TIMMINS (née JORDAN), later living in Park Lane, Newmarket in 1901.

1901 census...John Caswell [9] was at Park Lane, Newmarket with his father William [46] a journeyman tailor born Malvern, Worcs., his mother Matilda [42] also born in Malvern, and his 6 brothers Arthur William [21], stableman, Thomas J [16] stableman, Samuel [14], William [11], Christopher [7] and Frederick S [4]. All the children were born in Cheltenham,Glos.

His father died in 1904.

1911 census...Jack [19] was a stableman in Andrew Joiner's yard at Balaton Lodge, Snailwell Road, Newmarket. His widowed mother was then living at Victoria Villas, Park Lane, Newmarket, the child remaining at home was Frederick.

Jack enlisted in Chichester on 10th December 1915 (and seems to have taken a year off his age, telling them he was born in 1893). He gave his next of kin as his Mother, Mrs Till Timmins, living at Victoria Villas, Park Lane, Newmarket. He was 5feet 2.5 inches (158.8 cm) tall weighed 121 lbs (55.1 kg) and had 33 inch (83.8 cm) chest.
Posted to the Reserves, he was called up on 23rd January 1916 and posted to 3rd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. On 16th May he was posted to the 7th Battalion , in the BEF in France. Missing in action on 7th July 1916, his death that day was officially accepted on 26 April 1917.

The 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment 7th July 1916 (near Ovillers on the 7th day of the 1st Battle of the Somme): At 4.45 am on 7th the French artillery fired gas shells for two hours, the bombardment by the 12th, 25th, and 36th divisional artilleries, the heavy artillery and trench mortars commencing at 6.45 a.m. At 8.30 a.m. the 36th Brigade assaulted, the 8th Royal Fusiliers on right, 7th Royal Sussex (Osborn) in centre, and 9th Royal Fusiliers on left, the l1th Middlesex being in reserve. The 7th Royal Sussex succeeded in gaining three objectives, About 12 noon Lieut.-Colonel Osborn took command troops and deciding, in view of his numbers that he could not hold all the gains, withdrew the men of the 8th Royal Fusiliers and 7th Royal Sussex who had reached the third objective, and consolidated positions in the first and second objectives. About 6 p.m. definite information of the position in Ovillers began to arrive, and immediately it was dark East Surrey and Essex Battalions were sent forward and the holding of the captured positions was assured. Bombing attacks and hand-to-hand fighting had gone on all day, but no organised counter-attack on a big scale had been made by the enemy.

Official deaths recorded that day for the 7th Royal Sussex were 120, of which 91 have un-identified graves and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial

No known grave - Jack is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France- Ref:pier and face 7C
and on the plaque in the Astley Club, Fred Archer Way, Newmarket.

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