Private John Wilson, of 1st Coldstream Guards, was born in Queensferry in 1887. He was living in Dalmeny when he enlisted in Rothsey in 1914.
In August 1914, the 1st Battalion were in Aldershot as part of the 1st (Guards) Brigade and they landed in France with that Division. The 1st Guards Brigade were involved in the Winter Operations, 23rd November 1914 – 6th February 1915, which included the Defence of Givenchy –
Givenchy was taken by the Germans on 20th December, and later in the day, parts to the East and South were recovered. The 1st (Guards) Brigade was ordered south at 5 p.m. on the 20th December, to relieve the Indian Corps who held the British Line before La Bassee. They set off, marching some 20 miles to Bethune and then at 12 noon on the 21st, the Brigade marched East on the Bethune/La Bassee Road to Pont Fixe, Givenchy.
At 5.45 a.m. on the 22nd December, they attacked the German trench, along the road leading from Givenchy to Chapelle. They took it, but being without any support on their flanks, they were bombed out of it about 8 a.m. and retired to the North of the ruins of the Church in Givenchy having lost over 50% of their strength.
It is more than likely that this is where John Wilson lost his life, 4 months later, at Givenchy, on 22nd December 1914, aged 27.
His name is on Panels 2 and 3, at Le Touret Memorial, Pas- de- Calais, in France and he was awarded the 1914 Star, The British War and Victory Medals.
More information to follow.