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John Joseph Stubley

Private John J. Stubley, 10910, Yorkshire Regiment, 6th Battalion

John Joseph Stubley was born in Batley in late 1893 the third child and third son of six children born to Newsome Stubley and his wife, Hannah Maria (nee Peace) who married at Batley All Saints Church on the 23rd February 1889. Both parents and all of the children were born in Batley.

In 1901, the family were living Batley where Newsome was working as a woollen weaver and John Joseph is recorded, erroneously, in the census as "Tom", aged 7. In early 1909, Hannah Maria Stubley died aged only 36 years and in early 1911, Newsome married his second wife, Betsy (nee Binns). They were living at 31, Cross Ryecliffe Street, Ossett with Newsome’s six children, aged between 4 and 20 years. Like his father and one of his brothers John Joseph was working at the local pit.

John Joseph Stubley’s army service record has not survived, but it is known that he enlisted in Batley and joined the 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment with service number 10910. The UK Soldiers who died in the Great War 1914-1919 record reports him as being in the 6th Yorkshire Hussars, but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission record has him serving in the Yorkshire Regiment, which is a different Regiment and more likely. His medal card also records him in the Yorkshire Regiment.

Private John Joseph Stubley embarked for the Balkans, Gallipoli (Dardanelles) on the 14th July 1915 and he was killed in action at Gallipoli on the 22nd August 1915. This indicates that John Joseph was an early volunteer and his service overseas before 31st December 1915 entitled him to the award, posthumously made, of the 1914/15 Star. He was also posthumously awarded the British and Victory medals.

The 6th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) was a Kitchener Battalion, raised at Richmond on 25 August 1914. They joined 32nd Brigade, 11th (Northern) Division and underwent training at Belton Park near Grantham. In April 1915 the moved to Witley Camp near Godalming in Surrey. They embarked from Liverpool on the 3rd of July 1915 to Mudros. They saw action in the landings at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on the 6th and 7th of August 1915.

In December 1915 the Division was evacuated from Gallipoli and sailed to Egypt via Imbros. They took over the Suez Defences in February. In June 1916 they received orders to move to France to reinforce the Divisions on The Somme. By the 7th of July Divisional HQ had been set up at Flesselles, and by the 27th the troops were in action on the front line. In 1917 they saw action on the Ancre then moved to Flanders for the Battle of Messines and the Third Battle of Ypres. In 1918 they were in action in the Battles of Arras and on the 15th of May 1918 were reduced to cadre strength and attached to 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division for ten days between the 19th and 29th June, before returning to England. They landed at Folkestone on the 30th of June and transferred to 75th Brigade, 25th Division, moving to Mytchett near Aldershot, then in July they moved to Margate. The Battalion absorbed 19th Bn during August and on the 9th of September 1918 the 75th Brigade was redesignated the 236th Brigade, for service in North Russia. They sailed from Dundee on the 17th of October and arrived at Murmansk on the 27th November 1918.

Private John J. Stubley was killed in action during the attempt by 11th Division to capture the 'W' Hills, south of the Anafarta Spur, on the 21st August 1915, as part of the Battle of Scimitar Hill. The opening artillery barrage looked terrific but achieved nothing prior to the attack at 3.00 pm and the 11th Division attempt to capture the 'W' Hills, collapsed in confusion when confronted with murderous counter-fire and artillery fire from an Ottoman strong-point. By 5.00pm the attack on W Hills had failed. As a consequence when the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers managed to capture the summit of Scimitar Hill, they found themselves under fire from the defenders higher up the Anafarta Spur to the east and from the 'W' Hills to the south. The Irish retreated from the summit while the undergrowth around them was set ablaze by the shellfire, incinerating the wounded as they lay helpless. The Battle of Scimitar Hill was a massive failure with appalling losses and 5,300 allied soldiers were killed.

John Joseph Stubley was not remembered on any Ossett Memorial or Roll of Honour probably because he and his family had left Ossett before 1911. He is remembered in this 2014 biography and Roll of Honour because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and/or the "U.K. Soldiers who Died in the Great War 1914-1918" listing records him as born or residing in Ossett.

Suvla Bay Gallipoli

Above: Map of Suvla Bay area of Gallipoli showing the 'W' Hills (centre, right) where Private John Joseph Stubley was killed in action.

Private John Stubley died on the 22nd August 1915 and is remembered on Panels 55 to 58 at the Helles Memorial, 1 Gallipoli, Turkey. The Helles Memorial stands on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula. It takes the form of an obelisk over 30 metres high that can be seen by ships passing through the Dardanelles.

The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.

The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further landings were made at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. However, the difficult terrain and stiff Turkish resistance soon led to the stalemate of trench warfare. From the end of August, no further serious action was fought and the lines remained unchanged. The peninsula was successfully evacuated in December and early January 1916.

The Helles Memorial serves the dual function of Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign and place of commemoration for many of those Commonwealth servicemen who died there and have no known grave.

The United Kingdom and Indian forces named on the memorial died in operations throughout the peninsula, the Australians at Helles. There are also panels for those who died or were buried at sea in Gallipoli waters. The memorial bears more than 21,000 names.

There are four other Memorials to the Missing at Gallipoli. The Lone Pine, Hill 60, and Chunuk Bair Memorials commemorate Australian and New Zealanders at Anzac. The Twelve Tree Copse Memorial commemorates the New Zealanders at Helles. Naval casualties of the United Kingdom lost or buried at sea are recorded on their respective Memorials at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham, in the United Kingdom.


1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site