Date of birth: 1890
Date of death: 18th April 1918
Regiment: York & Lancaster
Family information: Husband of Christina Preston Williamson nee Johnson
Service number: 21262
On 23rd September 1914 John attested for service with the K.O.Y.L.I. and on 26th September he transferred to the 10th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. The rest of his service was with this regiment, at times changing battalions.
After training he was posted to France in September 1915, but after only a month was back in England at Rugley Camp, now with the 11th Battalion. John had some minor disciplinary issues during this time. But by 3rd February 1916 he was back with the 10th Battalion and back in France.
They served in the Armentieres area and then to the Somme. The 10th Battalion was part of the 63rd Brigade of the 21st Division. On 1st July they fought in the Fricourt Wood area and were relieved on 4th July. The 63rd Brigade was transferred to 37th Division. John was back home again before the Division fought at the Battle of the Ancre in November. He was treated in October at Etaples for a carbuncle and was home on 2nd November.
He returned to France in March 1917 and served with 7th Battalion where he was involved in railway construction.
In January 1918 he was with 1/5th Battalion, now a Lance Corporal. They were involved in training and receiving new drafts. In March they patrolled and raided the enemy positions.
Now with 148th Brigade of 49th (West Riding) Division, the 1/5th took part in the Battle of the Lys. This was the German Offensive of Spring 1918, called Operation Georgette, from 9th to 29th April. The 49th Division fought at Messines, 10th – 11th April, Bailleul 13th – 15th April and First Battle of Kemmel,17th -19th April and Second Battle of Kemmel 25th -26th April.
John was assumed to have died on 18th April. From 11th to 19th April the 1/5th Battalion lost 5 Officers and 500 other ranks killed. 3 were missing presumed killed.
John has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
John Williamson was born in 1890 in Barnsley, the only son of John and Mary (nee Armitage) Williamson. Both parents came from Castleford and lived in Castleford, Barnsley and Knottingley. John had five older sisters Lily, Florence, Minnie, Jennie, Susan and two younger sisters – Ruth and Mary. In 1911 the family were living in Tower Cottages in the Headlands and John was employed as an engine cleaner on the railways.
In September he married Christina Preston Johnson. They had three children, Harry, Leslie and Minnie. Minnie was named after his sister who had emigrated in 1911 to Milwauke and then lived in Canada.