878252235 John Yeomans: 1st Lincolnshire Battalion. WW1.
This information was sent to us by Clive Yeomans on 30th December 2013. John Yeomans was his father.
My father served in the First World War. Here is his story as much as we can gather.
John Yeomans born 20th March 1899
In late 1915 at the age of 16 he was standing in a Cinema queue in Godalming. Surrey with his girl friend when she thought it a joke to hand him a white feather (a sign of being a coward). The queue became hostile towards him, he was tall being over 6ft tall and looking older than his 16 years. He ran away from the crowd and enlisted the following day, lying about his age.
He was sent to the 1st Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment. His Army number was 878252235. You can see his cap badges and WW1 medals and ribbons here. The top right are ribbons he took from a dead German soldier who was in the same shell hole he was sheltering in during one of the many fights. I believe the black and white ribbon signifies Order of the Iron Cross second class and the gold, red and black is Medal of Merit of the Princley Reuss Cross of Honour.
My father was promoted to Corporal in 1917 and sent to 3rd Mounted Brigade. Which I believe was a bicycle Brigade.
The photo is of the NCO's School of instruction 3rd Mounted Brigade Wildernesse Camp August 1917. He in the top line 5th from the left. He returned to the front until the end of the war.
He was always a quiet man unable to make any major decisions. I think that it was because in 1917/18 he ordered his platoon 'over the top' but after fierce fighting the order was given to retreat. He told his men to go back. One of his comrades fell wounded and as he bent down to help him a shell exploded killing all the platoon but himself and his wounded companion. He always blamed himself for that, as he had given the order to fall back and from that day found decision making difficult.
He must of continued in the army after the end of the war as there is a picture of him as a sergeant. Taken in about 1920. The other photo is of his platoon before that terrible event. Also attached his medal record.
I hope this story will be of interest to you.
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