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Person Details
He was born in 1879 (registered J/A/S), the eldest child and only son of William and Jane Theobald. William was born in Hertfordshire (abt. 1837) and was a grinder and polisher. He married Jane Shippam (b. abt 1843, Mansfield) in Mansfield in 1877 (A/M/J). They had four children; John, Clara (b. 1881) Ada (b. 1883) and Kate (b. 1886). All the children were born in Nottingham. In 1881 William and Jane were living at 66 Leicester Street, St Ann's, Nottingham with their son, John (2), and Jane's unmarried sister, Annie Shippam (41), who worked in the lace industry. The family has not yet been traced on the 1891 Census, but in 1901 William and Jane were still living in St Ann's but only their three daughters were still at home. All three girls were working in the lace or hosiery industry. John was a brewer living at 49 Sneinton Road, Sneinton, Nottingham, in the household of John Hallam, a licensed victualler, his wife Eliza and their son John, a barman. John has not yet been traced on the 1911 Census but his parents and sisters Clara (29) and Kate (23) together with William and Jane's granddaughter, Elva May Theobald (b. 1901, Nottingham), were living at 13 Delta(?) Street, Nottingham. John's other sister, Ada, had married Samuel Ernest Woodward in 1907 and was no longer living at home. William Theobald died in 1914 (J/F/M) aged 77 and his wife, Jane, in 1919 (registered March). Their married daughter Ada probably died in 1918 (registered September). Their youngest daughter Kate was married in 1918 (Bryan) and it was she who in June 1919 completed the form for the Army giving the names of her brother's surviving blood relatives. She listed only herself (age 33) and her unmarried sister Clara Theobald (37). She gave their address as 9 Athol Terrace, Egypt Street, New Basford, Nottingham. In 1921 Clara signed a statement for the Army that her brother had left no will and that she was his next of kin. Elva May Theobald, the granddaughter living with the family at the time of the 1911 census, married Albert E Moore in 1928 (A/M/J) and died in 1969 (registered December, Nottingham) aged 68 (b. 14 May 1901). Clara died unmarried in 1969 aged 88 (b. 26 July 1881). Kate may have died in 1976 (registered Stevenage, Hertfordshire) aged 90 (b. 25 April 1886).
In 1901 he was a brewer and he was later a barman at the Crown Inn, Carlton Road, Nottingham.
16 Aug 1916
101843 - CWGC Website
Crown Inn, Carlton Road, Nottingham
Army Cyclist Corps
ACC, 46th (North Midland) Div. Coy. His service record survives. He attested on 16 June 1915 at the age of 32 years and 10 months and served at home from then until 13 October 1915. On 14 October 1915 he embarked at Southampton and disembarked at Rouen the following day. There is also a record that he embarked Marseilles 5 January 1916, disembarked Alexandria 17 January 1916, and then embarked Alexandria 5 February 1916, disembarked Marseilles 11 February 1916. However, his total service of 1 year and 82 days was given as Home Service 16 June 1915-14 October 1915 and France from 14 October 1915 to 16 August 1916. John suffered self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head on 22 July 1916 and he died of his injuries the following month on 16 August 1916. He is buried in Etretat churchyard (grave ref ll.C.18). He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. The Army carried out an investigation into the incident resulting in John's death and his service record contains a number of documents relating to this: Memo 22July 1916 to OC No 30 CCS. ‘No 235 Pte Theobald J, removed to No. 30 CCS at 3.20pm today is suffering from self-inflicted injuries.’ Signed Capt (-), Adjutant XVII Cyclist Bn. Army Form A.2. Proceedings of a Medical Board of Officers assembled at No 1 General Hospital, Etretat, on the 3rd day of August, 1916 by order of ADMS No. 1 Base, Havre, for the purpose of examining and reporting upon the fitness for service in France of 235 Pte J Theobald, XVII Corps Cyclist Battalion. President: Colonel FW Caton-Jones OB, AMS, ADMS, Havre. Members: Lieut Colonel GA Moore CMG, RAMC, Captain RL Scott RAMC (TC). ‘The Board having assembled pursuant to order, proceed to examine No. 235 Pte J Theobald, XVII Corps Cyclist Battn, 3rd Army, and that he is suffering from a penetrating gunshot wound of the (-) ‘Self-inflicted’ and that on account of this he is unlikely to be (-) for further service. The Board recommend that he be sent to England (-)’ Memo 22 July 1916 to OC No. 30 CCS, 'Reference Third Army Circular MEM No 19 dated 20 June 1916. Herewith copy of opinion, recorded by a Court of Enquiry in the case of No. 235, Pte Theobald J of XVII Corps Cyclist Battalion, admitted to No 30 CCS this afternoon.' Signed Capt. (-) Adjutant XVII Cyclist Bn. Memo 22 July 1916 to Headquarters XVII Corps (A) from Major HA Allen, Commanding XVII Corps Cyclist Bn, ‘Herewith proceedings of Court of Enquiry assembled by me to enquire into the self-wounding of No. 235 Pte Theobald J of XVII Corps Cyclist Battalion. The man is seriously wounded in the head and is likely to be incapacitated from military duty for some considerable time. The man was not on duty and I am of the opinion that he was to blame.’ Document: 'Proceedings of a Court of Enquiry assembled in the Field on the 22/7/16 by order of Major HA Allen Commanding XVWW Corps Cyclist Battalion for the purpose of investigating the cause of an injury inflicted upon himself by No. 235 Pte Theobald J of XVII Corps Cyclists Battalion. Court of Enquiry will record their opinion as to whether the wound was caused (a) Wilfully (b) Negligently (c) Through no fault of his own. President Captain WB Litherland. Members: Lieut APF Hamilton, Lieut & QrMR A Fenton. The court having assembled pursuant to Order proceeded to examine the witnesses.' 1st Witness, A/RSM Jones E, XVII Corps Cyclist Bn states: ‘At about 3pm on 22/7/16 I was in the QM Stores of the XVII Cyclist Batt. I noticed that No. 235 Pte Theobald J, storeman, had just finished his work with the rations and saw him go into the inner part of the barn which is screened off. I remained in the outer part of the barn, and about 3.5pm I heard a rifle fired. On going round the screen I found Pte Theobald in a sitting position on a bed, seriously wounded in the head, and with a rifle, the muzzle of which was pointing towards him, still in his hands. I sent for assistance and then examined the rifle, which I found to be No. 152 belonging to No 1733 Pte Thomas a batman on the strength of Batt Hd Qrts. The rifle contained one fired cartridge case and four live cartridges. The clip was on the bed beside the man.’ Signed E Jones RSM. 2nd Witness, No. 2294 Pte Ecob W, SVII Corps Cyclist Bn states: ‘At about 3pm on 22/7/16 I was working in part of the barn which contains the QM stores of the SVII Cyclist Bn. I heard a shot fired and saw Sergt Major Jones go round the screen behind which some of the men sleep. The Sergt Major called out to me that Pte Theobald had shot himself and sent me off for assistance.’ Signed W Ecob Pte. Copy of opinion recorded by Court of Enquiry in the case of No 235 Theobald J XVII Corps Cyclist Bn. ‘The Court is of the opinion that No. 235 Pte Theobald J wilfully wounded himself. The Court is further of the opinion that the man was in a fit of despondency, caused by family troubles (letters found in his possession point to this) and that he intended to commit suicide.’ Signed WB Litherland Capt (President), AP Hamilton Lieut and A Fenton Lieut and QrMR (Members). Memo 23 July 1916 from Adjutant XVII Corps Cyclist Bn to OC No. 30 CCS. ‘Can you please give an opinion as to how long No. 235 Pte Theobald J is likely to be incapacitated from performing his military duties. This information is required for transmission to XVII Corps.’ Reply 23 July 1916 from Lt Col WDV Kelly RAMC, OC No 30 CCS: ‘This man will never again perform military duties, it is very doubtful that he will live.’ (-) July 1916, From DAG, 3rd Echelon, Base (Third Army). ‘Herewith proceedings of a Court of Enquiry held on the 22nd July 1916 on the wounding of No. 235 Pte J Theobald, XVII Corps Cyclist Battalion. The opinion of the Court was that he wilfully wounded himself, whilst in a fit of despondency caused by family troubles. The opinion of the CO of the XVII Corps Cyclist Battn, was that he was [not] on duty and was [not] to blame. The injuries are [not] likely to incapacitate him for further military service, it being doubtful if he will live. Disciplinary action, in the event of his recovery, will be taken.’ Note: the words 'not' in brackets are as the text appears on the printed form. Letter dated 26 July 1916 from AW Peck, BG, for Lieut. General Commanding XVIIth Corps to Headquarters Third Army ‘A’, ‘Forwarded [report of Court of Enquiry] I concur in the opinion of the Court, but in view of the medical opinion it is doubtful whether disciplinary action will be taken. The man, if he recovers, will not be fit for undergoing trail for at least four months.’ Letter dated 17 August 1916 from Lieutenant Colonel (-) RAMC, Commanding No. 1 General Hospital, Etretat, to ADMS Headquarters, Havre. ‘With reference to my No: 791/16 dated 4th instant in which I requested authority to transfer to England No. 235 Pte J Theobald, A.Cyc.C 46/Div. Co (North Midland), will you kindly note that this man died in this hospital at 9pm on 16th instant from GSW head (self-inflicted).’
Nottingham Evening Post obituary (abridged), 21 August 1916: 'Theobald. Died of wounds August 16th, Private John Theobald, Cyclists. Mother and family, sister Ada.' Nottingham Evening Post obituary (abridged), 22 August 1916: 'Theobald. Died of wounds August 15th (sic), Private John Theobald, NMDCC. Mother, family, sister Ada. For many years barman at the Crown Inn, Carlton Road.' Register of Soldier’s Effects: Theobald, 17 Corps North Mid. Cyc. Bn late 46th Div. Cyc Co. Pte. 16/8/16. Died No. 1 Gen. Hosp. of wounds (self-inflicted). Payments to: Mother Jane, sister Clara, sister Kate, sister Ada Woodward. John's personal effects were returned to his mother, Mrs J Theobald, of 9 Athol Terrace, Egypt Row, New Basford, in March 1917. Items: disc, letters, photos, cards, wallet, knife with chain, pr. of scissors, watch key, match box cover, broken silver watch, metal watch chain, button, 18ct, gold ring, bag.
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