Roll of Honour
Sergeant John Howard Grimsley
Also linked to: Bicester Methodist Church
Service Number: 200260
Regiment: Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (1st/4th)
Conflict: World War One
Date of Death: 15th June 1918
Age at Death: 23
Burial/Memorial Location: Boscon British Cemetery, Italy
Address: 17 King's End, Bicester
Son of Serjt. Claudius Herbert & Fanny Grimsley, of 17 King's End, Bicester.
"News has been received in Bicester that Sergeant John Howard Grimsley, of the O. & B.L.I., son of Mr C.H. Grimsley, of King’s End, Bicester has been killed in action. The news was conveyed in a letter from another Bicester man who was with him, and who states that he assisted in burying him. Sergeant Grimsley joined the army soon after the outbreak of war, and although he had seen a lot of fighting he had not previously been wounded." Bicester Advertiser 28/06/1918
"The parents of the above named soldier have now received particulars of how he met his death. A letter has been received by them from a fellow sergeant, also one from an officer in his battalion. Writing under date 17th June, the sergeant says he was killed in action on the 15th of that month. The enemy had made a big push and had succeeded in breaking through. A counter attack was launched, and it was during this that Sergeant Grimsley met his death. At that time the English were fighting against odds of four or five to one. The unfortunate soldier met his death almost instantaneously, having a machine gun bullet through his side, one through his leg, and another through his head. He was buried in a British cemetery two days later.
The officer says “As I have been his platoon officer for the last ten months I knew him very well, and I have never met a more honest, brave and staunch supporter. The Austrians attacked our positions at dawn, and your son was in the thick of it, and fought to the last against greatly superior numbers. He was killed instantaneously by a machine gun bullet, and his death is a great loss to me and to the platoon. He was buried with all honour behind the lines in the British cemetery.”
Sergeant Grimsley was in the Oxfordshire Yeomanry when the war broke out. Previous to that he had served in the Church Lads’ Brigade, in which corps he was a sergeant and bugler. He took a great interest in the Y.M.C.A., and besides being a member of the band since its formation did much good work in the interests of that institution. He was a staunch supporter of the Primrose League, a member of the Bicester Rifle Club and the Bicester Football Club. He joined the Territorials in 1913; mobilised on August 5th, 1914; went to France in March, 1915; and went to Italy in November, 1915; where he remained till he was killed.
He went out as a private, but gained quick promotion having been a sergeant for over two years prior to meeting his death. Had he lived his time would have expired this month, and he would have been entitled to a months leave. He was 23 years of age.
Mr and Mrs Grimsley have also received official news from the War Office of the death of their son." Bicester Advertiser 12/07/1918