Able Seaman John Wilson

Able Seaman John Steel Wilson, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Hawke Battalion, Royal Naval Division.  He was killed in action in France on 13th November 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, France. He was the son of Thomas Wilson of Seaview Terrace, St. Abbs and had already seen action at Gallipoli before being posted to France. He fell during the last stages of the Battle of the Somme in what was termed the Battle of the Ancre and terminated in the capture of the heavily fortified village of Beaucourt. ( The 63rd (Royal Naval) Division was formed in 1914 from Naval and Royal Marine  reserves not needed to man Royal Navy ships . It had first tasted action during the Gallipoli campaign and was then transferred to the Western Front where it remained for the rest of the War . Whilst the Division fought as Infantry they kept their naval ranks). The photographs show the state of the ground after the autumn rains had turned the ground into a glutinous quagmire making movement of men, guns and animals very difficult as can be seen from the photographs. The colour photograph shows the peaceful Somme today with ” no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now”.

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