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John Joseph Wright
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Name: John Joseph Wright Regimental Number: 307122 Rank: Private Regiment: King's (Liverpool Regiment) British Infantry Battalion: 8th Battalion Date of Birth: Unknown Place of Birth: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Place of Enlistment: Liverpool, England Address at Enlistment: Malden, Mass. US Date of Death: March 22, 1918 Age at Death: Unknown Cemetery: Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, Belgium Grave Reference: II. J. 23 Commemorated on Page 595 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on December 23 Not Commemorated on the Yarmouth War Memorial King's (Liverpool Regiment) British Infantry (Operations March and April, 1918) The King's contributed to the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917 and assisted in defensive actions as the new year neared. In early 1918, Germany prepared for a final attempt to achieve a decisive victory before the US contingent on the Western Front surged further. On March 21, a five-hour artillery and gas shell barrage across a 80 km front signified the beginning of the Battle of St. Quentin (Operation Michael) and the Spring Offensive in the Somme. The 11th King's occupied front-line trenches near Urvillers when the attack began. Two of its companies engaged troops at Lambay Wood and Benay and the battalion's casualties for the day exceeded 160. The Liverpool Pals, in reserve on the 21st, hurried to the front on the 22nd to undertake localised counter- attacks, with the first and largest conducted by the 19th against the village of Roupy. The battalion advanced in darkness after 0115, uncertain of German positions, but retook the original front-line trenches unopposed. They later came under sustained attack, holding out without support until Lieutenant-Colonel Peck ordered a withdrawal at about 1600. The Germans overwhelmed the survivors, capturing the wounded Peck and many others. The situation became dire, forcing troops to withdraw towards Ham, which itself had to be evacuated. The Third and Fifth Armies went into retreat. The 1st King's, occupying positions near Vélu Wood during the Battle of Bapaume, came under attack on the 24th but held out until their deteriorating flanks compelled a retreat that was covered by about 30 men of its headquarters. The battalion's commander, Lieutenant- Colonel Murray-Lyon, had just 60 men at his command when they arrived at Beaulencourt later in the day. On 28 March, the offensive was extended to Arras which was soon repulsed by the Allies. Having lost its momentum and suffered about 250,000 casualties, comparable to Allied losses, Germany abandoned the operation on 5 April. The German Army did not relent and launched Operation Georgette in Flanders on 9 April. The first-day of the Battle of the Lys involved the three King's battalions of the 165th Brigade, situated at Estaires. The bombardment against Allied positions began at 0410 and the subsequent infantry attack displaced Portuguese forces by 0800, exposing the left flank of the 165th. The King's repulsed the frontal assaults with heavy casualties but continued to be attacked from the flanks. Counter- attacks by the 1/7th King's and 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers took up to 500 prisoners. Sources: Canadian Virtual War Memorial King's (Liverpool Regiment)