Unit: 1/6th South Staffordshire
Commemorated: Cabaret-Rouge Cemetery, about
Very little is known about John George Henry Elvidge’s private life. He was born in Moulton, Nr. Spalding, Lincolnshire and actually resided in Spalding. He enlisted at Lincoln and there is no obvious connection with Woodhall Spa. It may have been the fact his parents had moved here and were anxious to honour their Son when the memorial was erected.
After enlistment, John found himself posted to the 1/6th battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment. A Territorial battalion originally raised in 1860, the battalion became the 6th Battalion (TF) The South Staffordshire Regiment in 1908, following the Haldane reforms. Members of the battalion served with regular troops during the Boer War. During the whole of the 1914-18 war the 1/6th served on the Western Front whilst the 2/6th initially served in Ireland, before moving to the front in 1917.
John died on the 1st July 1917. The War Diary of the 1/6th shows the battalion taking part in an attack on the Western defences of Lens, early in the morning of that day. “A” Company were to be carrying parties for the 1/5th North Staffords; “B” Company as their moppers-up and “C” & “D” Companies were to be in support. “C” & “D” Companies were, in fact, never called upon. “A” Company performed its task well and suffered heavy casualties whilst “B” Company were in the thick of it. They were organised into four parties of 20 men, each party being attached to the leading platoon of the four leading companies. Considerable opposition was encountered, but two of the four leading companies reached their objectives, in the city of Lens. However, each was left isolated, due to the failure of the other companies on their flanks. Casualties were very heavy and at one point Lieut.H.P. Jones of “B” Company found himself in charge of the remnants of the 1/5th North Staffords, as well as his own men. He consolidated his position and, during the fighting, captured 8 prisoners and 3 machine guns. In the early afternoon he was forced to retire and by 6.00pm orders were received to withdraw to Lievie. It is most certain John died in this action.