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Pyle, J., Pte., 1917

Blyth News 14/04/1921

John and William Pyle (London)

John, William and Elizabeth Pyle (Newsham Blyth)

William Pyle (Blyth)

William Pyle & family (Australia)

On the Australian Villers Brettonneux Memorial is the name of 5185 Private John Pyle serving with the 10th Battalion Australian Infantry who died 15/04/1917

David Downie and Dorothy Hall have submitted the following:

John, known as Jack, Pyle was the son of Anthony and Phyllis (nee Dawson) and was born in 1889 at Seghill. His sister Elizabeth Smart born 1890 and William Dawson born 1894 made up the family. Phyllis died in 1898 and Anthony in 1902 and the family lived at different times with grandparents and cousins in the Horton area.

In July 1913 Jack a 24 year old Miner left London on the Orsova for Sydney. He was joined in July 1915 by William 21 year also a Miner, who travelled on the Osterley. The brothers were possibly both at Heppel, Abermain, New South Wales. On the 21st December 1915 Jack and William enlisted and joined the 10th Battalion of the Australian Light Infantry. Jackís -Service number 5185 and Williamís 5186 and in March 1916 they left Adelaide on HMAT A9 Shropshire.

Private Jack Pyle was killed in action on the 15th April 1917 aged 27 years and has no known grave. His name is on the Australian memorial at Villers-Brettonneux.

His next of kin on the Australian records was Mrs E. Downie 50 Cooperative Terrace Newsham Northumberland. Elizabeth had married Robert H. Downie in 1911.

The Blyth News 14/04/1921 reads:-

In loving memory of my dear brother Pte. Jack Pyle AIL who was killed in action on April 15th 1916. Christ shall clasp the broken chain. Closer when we meet again. Ever remembered by his sister and brother Lizzie and Will also brother in law Bob.

The newspaper reads 1916 but all other records are 1917.

Dave Downie replied to an email from NEWMP November 2014:

Unfortunately I do not know much about John that you don't already know. You mentioned Heppel, Abermain NSW and I don't have any evidence of them being there but I do know that John was in Cardiff which I believe is near Abermain. I have a letter from a man in Cardiff to my grandmother Elizabeth in which he says that he has been holding a service medal for John which he is now forwarding on to her. I have also received an e-mail from a lady in Australia who is involved in a similar project as yourselves. They are trying to write a short article for their organisation's magazine about each of the soldiers recorded on the War Memorial in Cardiff. She told me that John had worked at Lymington Colliery. Among the documents available to view in theAustralian Archives is a letter from the Grand United Order of Oddfellows in Weston, Hunter River NSW, which I believe is near Newcastle, so once again in the same area.

I inherited a small book called "The History of 10th Battalion A.I.F." in which a brief reference is made to the experiences of the battalion in chronological order during those four years. It is stated that from the 4th to the 9th April the battalion advanced towards Boursies. On the 11th at Louverval the battalion was relieved by the 11th Battalion and spent the next three days in support. At 0420 on the 15th the Germans delivered a strong counter-attack. Companies from the battalion were sent to support the 11th and 12th Battalions and in the evening took over part of the line from the 11th. In an Appendix are recorded all the soldiers who died over the four years. It shows that John and three other soldiers were killed in action on 15th April; maybe in this action but to date I haven't been able to confirm it.

I know a little more about brother William, he survived the war during which he was wounded, moved through the ranks and finally finished the war as Company Sergeant Major, he was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in the 1919 New Years Honours. He returned to Australia after the war and lived in Franklin, Adelaide with his wife Jessica and his children Marilyn and Denver. My parents kept in touch with the family for many years probably until Bill died, I think in 1968. Denver died at an early age after falling from a swing and so far I have been unable to find out anything more about Marilyn, so I don't know if she had a family and if so the possibility that any relatives are still alive.

pic 1 - This photo was taken by Modern Studios, London and I believe that it was taken in the period between them arriving in London and going on to France. It was sent by John to Elizabeth and on the back he has written apologising for not going back home but saying that he had four days leave, he stayed two days in London with a mate and then they went onto Brighton where they stayed nine days. He says that it was some place and they had a ripping time but will now have to stand the pain. His record shows that for overstaying his leave he was awarded 168 hours detention and the loss of eight days pay. I assume that Bill did not go to Brighton because his record does not show him overstaying.

pic 2- I don't know when this photo of John, William and Elizabeth was taken but it was taken by S.Cook, Newsham so I am assuming that it was taken on their first leave in England when they went back home.

pic 3 - I assume that this photo of Bill, which was taken by J.Clark, Blyth, was taken towards the end of his time here because it shows him wearing his rank of CSM.

pic 4 - this is a family snap that Bill sent to Elizabeth showing him with his wife Jessica and their children Denver and Marilyn.

Jack Pyle is remembered at Blyth on B42.24 and at New Delaval N51.01

The CWGC entry for Private Pyle

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk