John Southall was born in Wordsley and attended Wollescote Board School. He volunteered for the Worcesters in 1914. He joined the 9th (Service) Battalion who were in training for nearly a year and were then sent out to Gallipoli to break the stalemate on the peninsula. They landed successfully at Suvla Bay on the 6th August and attempted to seize the crest of the ridge. Turkish defence was fierce and, though close by the 10th, the Worcesters were driven back. Stalemate resulted and trench warfare among the gullies and ravines developed. Evacuation was decided upon and on the 21st December all the troops were lifted off most skilfully without a death. The Worcesters moved to Helles and a second evacuation was planned for the 8th January. The Turks were not out-witted this time and put in a fierce artillery barrage on the 7th. Among the 16 Worcesters killed in action was Private John Southall. A letter from Private Alfred Elwell states that he was buried in ‘a beautiful grave’ but he is now commemorated on the Helles, Wordsley and Wollescote school Memorials.
High Street, Wordsley, West Midlands, DY8 5RU
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