John Howard Blincow 
Father Nm: John Blincow  19.7.1865 Silverstone Northants; Oldest known ancestor – John Blinco 1660 Whilton.
Mother Nm: Sarah Edwards born Golds Green Staffs  1865.
Born 4.3.1900, Walsall,Volume: 6b Page: 758.
1901 Census 73 Queen St.,Walsall, Staffs
- Blinkow John Head Railway Guard M 1866 Silverstone Northants 35 John H Son M 1900
- Blinkow Sarah Wife F 1865 Gold Green Staffs 36
- Blinkow Edith M Dau F 1890 Walsall 11
- Blinkow Arthur J Son M 1889 Birmingham 12
1911 Census 84 Kingsley Street, Pleck, Walsall
- Blincow John Head Railway Guard M 1866 Silverstone 45
- Blincow John Howard Son M 1900 Walsall 11
- Blincow Sarah Wife F 1865 West Bromwich 46
- Blincow Edith May Dau Tailor-Seamstress F 1890 Walsall 21
|Online War Photo Album||
Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry
The problem with this man his age on enlistment was 15 and consequently initially couldn’t identify this man. However positively identified his name from Medal Roll, (John Howard Blincow) and with the help of the DCLI Museum’s Hugo White established the background of the man. The facts point to John Howard born 1900.
- A Wednesbury native; recruited in 1915 living in Wednesbury and at his death was also a resident of Wednesbury in 1947.
- A letter from Duke of Cornwalls Museum indicating he enlisted at Wednesbury, Staffordshire and was a “Telegraph Messenger” which could have been with the Railways (Father a Railways employee).
John went to the Somme in 1916 and fought with the DCLI throughout the war seemingly unharmed in any serious way.
Blincow John Howard, 1900, Walsall, Private, 22941, 1st Bn. Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry
John probably lied about his age at enlistment, an alternative is we have the wrong John identified but an exhaustive search has failed to find a John H Blincow born C1896 anywhere.
- 28th Jul. John H Blincow 22941 enlisted at Wednesbury, Staffordshire at the age of nineteen. His civilian employment was given as “Telegraph Messenger”. He was initially posted to the 3rd Battalion DCLI which was a Training and Reserve unit stationed at Freshwater Fort on the Isle of Wight. The 3rd Bn. DCLI was responsible for carrying out most of the recruit training and then holding drafts ready for posting to operational battalions. The period of recruit training was supposed to last for six months, and, although at times of crisis this was sometimes shortened, the majority of soldiers underwent the full programme.
After training John would, therefore, be posted in January or February to France. At that time the 1st Battalion was in line at Maricourt (8 miles east of Albert), but moved to St Nicholas (near Arras) where it took over from the French. The weather was bitterly cold, and it is recorded that, for some reason, fuel was unavailable to alleviate their extreme discomfort.
- Joined the 1st Bn. in France as part of the 95th Brigade in the 5th Division.
- Mar. The 5th Div. took over a section of front line between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge, in front of Arras.
- This was a lively time, with many trench raids, sniping and mining activities in the front lines. When the Franco-British offensive opened on the Somme on 1 July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and refit and was in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last. The principal battles in which they fought were:
- 14th Jul. – 3rd Sept. The Battle of Delville Wood*.
After the South African Forces first broke into the Wood on 14th Jul.the fighting was furious throughout the month. On Wednesday 19th Jul 1916, 1st Bn. moved into forward positions near Longueval, occupying a sunken road leading to High Wood. The battalion attacked Delville Wood and initially made good headway and captured a strong point. The Germans, however, made a fierce counter-attack and forced the battalion to retire to Pont Street.1
- 20th Jul – 1st Aug. High Wood*.
- 20th– 21st Jul. During the fighting for High Wood, the 5th Division and 7th Division attacked the Switch Line to the east. After the 20th attack failed, the Germans re-occupied most of High Wood, until only the southern corner remained in British hands. “They also dug a new defensive position, known as Intermediate trench, ahead of the Switch Line to the west of the wood. This meant that taking the wood, already almost within British hands twice only to slip away, became an even tougher proposition”.4 Twenty nine men of the Bn. were killed in this period as per CWGC records.5
- 23rd Jul. After the standard pre-attack barrage at 10 pm..51st Div. moved forward with the support of 5th Div. outside the Wood.The 51st Div. was forced to withdraw to its own lines in the lower part of the Wood. A similar fate befell 5th Div. outside the Wood.6 Although only in support the 1st Bn. lost 156 men on this day.5
- 30th Jul.The 51st Div. launched a new attack, this time supported by both 5th and 19th Divs. who stormed the Switch Line and its extension from the eastern side of the Wood. But it ended in the same stalemate.6 The 1st Bn. doesn’t seem to have much of a role in this attack losing 1 man killed. 5
- 2nd – 6th Sept. The Battle of Guillemont*
- 2nd Sept. At 8.50 am on Sunday morning, 5th Div. advanced towards the protective strongpoint of Falfemont Farm to the south-east of the village. The 5th Div. failed to take the Farm, but units did break into the German second line position.7
- 3rd Sept. Next day saw 5th Div. attempt advances towards Leuze Wood including another attack on Falfemont Farm which was not captured until early the following morning.5 Twenty-eight men killed on this day.5
- 4th Sept.Twenty four men killed in the capture of Falfemont Farm.5
- 5th Oct. The Division had left the Somme and was holding a quieter line near Festubert. There was a constant threat from enemy artillery and sniper fire, but in comparison with the Somme, it was a relatively tranquil period that lasted until March 1917.
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916
- 9th Apr. The Battle of Vimy**. Under the command of the Canadian 2nd Division for an assault on Vimy Ridge.
- 14th Apr. the 95th Brigade including the 1st Bn. DCLI began pushing the Germans back towards Lens.
- 23rd Apr. The Attack on La Coulotte** A head on attack that got to its objective but failed to hold and was forced to retire back to starting point with many casualties.2 Sixty-seven men were killed in this attack.5
- 1st May. The 5th Div left the Canadian Corps and came under British VIII corps. and for the next four months operated in the vicinity of Arleux, Oppy and Fresnoy.
- 8th May, The village of Fresnoy lost to a German attack and over the following days, the 5th Div was involved in trying to regain the lost village, after changing hands several times the 5th had to pull back because of losses. The Bn. suffered thirty-six men killed this day.5
The battles marked ** are phases of the Battles of Arras 1917
- 7th Sept. 1917 the Division was relieved and moved out of the line for a period, being sent next to join the great offensive in Flanders.
- 4th Oct. The Battle of Broodeseinde.
The 95th Bde including the 1st Bn. DCLI attacked N. of Ypres Menin Rd. and north of the Reutelbeek driven back once by German counter-attack but moving on to try to consolidate a position north of the Poldhoek Chateau. Unfortunately, the ruins of the Chateau were good position the German machine Gunners and casualties were very high.8 One hundred and eight men of the Bn. fell on this day.5
- 6th Nov. The 95th Bde including the 1st Bn. DCLI attacked again towards Cameron Covert and in this attack the Bn. loses forty-nine more men.5
- 15th-16th Nov. Relieved by the New Zealand Division the 5th Div. said goodbye to the Ypres front. A major change now occurred with 5th Division being one of five British formations selected to be moved to Italy. This was a strategic and political move agreed by the British Government at the request of the Allied Supreme War Council, as an effort to stiffen Italian resistance to enemy attack after a recent disaster at Caporetto. Many diaries at this time, by men who had witnessed slaughter in the floods of Passchendaele, talk of the move and Italy as being “like another world”. Much work was done preparing to move into the mountainous area of the Brenta, but eventually, the Division was instead moved to the line along the River Piave, taking up positions in late January 1918. Unfortunately, this pleasant period was not to last, for the Division was recalled hurriedly to France, once the enemy had made an attack in overwhelming strength on 21st March 1918.
- 12-15th Apr. The Battle of Hazebrouck+ . The 5th Div. entered Nieppe Forest . The Division made its way through to the eastern edge and established a 2000 yard front-facing Merville. The Division held the line in this region until August. In the period the Bn. lost fifty men.5
The battle marked + is a phase of the Battles of the Lys.
- 28-30th Jun. Action at La Becque. On 20th June 1918, 5th and 31st Divisions received orders to attack a 6,000-yard front east of the Nieppe Forest. The 5th Div. made final preparations for the attack at La Lacque Camp and at 9.30pm on 27th June they moved to their assembly positions, some 200-300 yards east of the Arrewage-Caudescure Road. At 6 am the following day, their artillery barrage fell on the enemy’s defences, just 200 yards in advance of the Cornwall’s front line. Shells rained over their heads and onto the German trenches. The attack took the enemy completely by surprise and the artillery barrage was able to advance by 100 yards in four minutes. The Cornwall’s Battalion Diary records: “when our troops left their trenches and advanced towards the enemy’s front line they met with little or no opposition and all objectives were taken without the slightest difficulty”. The Germans surrendered freely. Their casualties had been very heavy and it is said that in one place more than 35 men lay heaped together, all bayoneted. Altogether that day the 5th and 31st Divs. captured about 500 Germans, 50 machine guns, five trench mortars and three field guns. They also suffered many casualties themselves. The 5th reported 29 officers and 890 other ranks among their casualties. The Cornwalls lost about 40 per cent of their total strength, the majority being wounded and twenty-two men were killed in this attack, a total of thirty-six by the 30th Jun.5
The whole of the objectives from Vieux Berquin to the River Bourre had been captured by the two Divisions, an advance of a mile in-depth along a three-mile front. This was the first victorious operation of any size since the Somme and Lys Battles of March and April. It was also the first and last in which the 5th Division was engaged before the Advance to Victory began in August.
- 14th August. The Division was withdrawn for rest and placed in GHQ Reserve. Two weeks later it entered into what became a series of complex, endless, overlapping Allied attacks that forced the German Army into retreat. Fighting through Albert (back on the old and devastated Somme ground of 1916), to Irles, Beugny, Havrincourt, Gonnelieu and the River Selle, and finally into Valenciennes and the River Sambre, the Division was in more or less continuous action until late October 1918.
- 21st-23rd Aug. Battle of Albert. Bucquoy was taken in March 1917. It was partly lost in April 1918, after a prolonged and gallant defence by the 62nd, 37th and 42nd Divisions; and it was however cleared on the 21st August. The battalion in the fighting around this time suffered thirty-six men killed in three days.
- 30th-31st Aug. Second Battle of Bapaume. Sixty men killed on these two days as the British Army advanced towards Bapaume.5
- The Division remained in the area of Le Quesnoy until mid-December 1918, as demobilisation commenced.
- 13th Dec. The Division began a march into Belgium, eventually to the area between Namur and Wavre. The first men were demobilised on 22nd Dec. and more followed at regular intervals through early 1919.
- Feb. The small remaining cadre embarked at Antwerp for Tilbury. John as a conscripted man was likely discharged in the early part of 1919.
- The Great War Forum http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com.
- The Bedfordshire Regiment War diaries.
- Birmingham Pals by Terry Carter.
- CWGC database.
- The Woods And Copses: Nature’s Fortresses of the Somme on the Western Front.
- The Battle of the Somme: the Battle of Guillemont, 3-6 September 1916.
- War diary of 1st Devon Battalion of the 95th Bde 4th Oct 1917.
- Accrington Pals at La Becque 28th June 1918.
- Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry, 1914-1919, by Everard Wyrall.
After the War
Death 1947 age 47 years
Wednesbury, Staffordshire, Volume: 9b Page: 548
John Howard 10a Walford St. Tividale, Tipton left assets to Father John Blincow a retired railway ticket collector.
There are 2 records in the National Archives for this man. For copyright reasons they cannot be re-published.