Augustus John Boursnell

Date of birth: 1894
Place of birth: Shepherd’s Bush
Service No.: 6508
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment: Royal Fusiliers
Battalion: 11th battalion
Died: 2 April 1918, aged 24 years
Commemorated: Pozieres Memorial, France (Panel 19-21)

Life before the War

John was the oldest of 11 siblings born to John Augustus and Frances (Fanny) Boursnell (nee Hotston), who married in Fulham in 1892.

Fanny was born in Hammersmith in 1876, and she died in Southampton in 1932.

John Augustus was born in Hammersmith in 1873 and he died in Southampton in 1960.


  1. Augustus John
  2. Herbert Henry   b. 1897 Shepherd’s Bush   d. 1964 Braintree   Married Ellen Telling in West Ham in 1923.
  3. Edith Maud b. 1899 Notting Hill   d. ?   Married Hans W. Dietrich in London in 1926.
  4. Lillian Doris   b. 1901 Colchester   d. ?   Married Frederick W. Clark in Southampton in 1932.
  5. Blanche M.   b. 1902 Colchester   d. ?   Married Douglas J. Matthews in Croydon in 1930.
  6. Leonard Frank   b. 1907 Colchester   d. 1971 Surrey   Married Mabel E. D’Allenger in Wandsworth in 1944.
  7. George William   b. 1909 Maidenhead   d. 1970 Sutton
  8. Winifred G.   b. 1910 Bourne End   d. 1917 Southampton
  9. Isabelle   b. 1913 Southampton   d. ?   Married a  Mr. Pardey in 1939.
  10. Philip Leslie b. 1915 Southampton   d. 1991 Waltham Forest   Married Caroline A. Grubb in Epping in 1942.
  11. Anthony C.   b. 1919 Southampton   d. ?

War Service

The battalion was raised in Hounslow on 6 September 1914 as part of the K2 New Army. It was assigned to the 54th Brigade in the 18th (Eastern) Divison and was in Colchester prior to moving to Salisbury Plain in May 1915.
The battalion landed at Boulogne in July 1915 and spent 2 years fighting in France before moving to Flanders.

The memorial relates to a period of crisis in March / April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918. It commemorates over 14,000 casualties from the UK who have no known grave, and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918.

The Hampshire 1st Battalion became part of the 11th Brigade of the 4th Division in August 1914, just prior to landing at Le Havre for action on the Western Front.

Harold would have been based around Ploegsteert (or Plugstreet to the Allies) in the spring of 1915 and, whilst there were no major battles in this sector at that time, there were plenty of skirmishes.

The cemetery was started by the 1st Hampshires (56 graves) and the 1st East Lancashires (84 graves) in November 1914. It was used as a front-line cemetery up to March 1916 and occasionally afterwards.It contains a total of 256 Commonwealth graves from WW1.

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 22.10.15

If you have any more information about the above named person, or any other name listed on this website or Southampton’s Cenotaph, please email, or telephone 023 8086 9599 and we will contact you.

Many thanks.