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385: John Arthur Wilson MM (log book)

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posted on 2024-01-12, 09:30 authored by Lest We Forget Project Team

Having enlisted at the very end of 1915 John Arthur Wilson (known as 'Jack'), then 19, joined the Durham Light Infantry. A few weeks into training at Mortimer Road School, South Shields he was picked out for the 'Suicide Squad' and was sent to Grantham to train as a Machine Gunner. In April 1916 he was sent to France and with his Machine Gun Company took part in the Battle of the Somme. A year later, by now a Corporal, and based outside Poperinge, he found himself taking over recently captured German pillboxes one by one during the advance of 'Third Ypres'. It was for holding such a pill-box for over a week without relief on the edge of Houthoulst Forest that led to his being awarded the Military Medal. His younger brother having joined the RFC, Jack often heard about what it would be like to be a pilot so he applied for transfer. By April 1918 he was back at Grantham on his way for training with then RAF and by September 1918 he found himself at RAF Crail on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth. He kept his logbook and often described his adventures learning to fly, going solo, near crashes and doing a 'loop the loop'. Disappointed not to get back to France he was finally demobbed in May 1919. A huge group photograph of some 360 personnel from RAF Crail hangs up in the Crail Museum. To date he is the only one to have been identified and named.

History

Name of contributor(s)

Jonathan Vernon

Subject of the story/individual the object(s) relate to

John Arthur Wilson MM

Date(s) the event(s) in the story took place

10/1918 to 05/1919

Location(s) where the event(s) in the story took place

RAF Crail

Object(s)

Log book

Community Collection Day

Submitted online

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