John William Humby

Date of birth: 1894
Place of birth: Shirley, Southampton
Regiment: Wiltshire
Battalion: 5th
Rank / Service No: Private, 25151
Died: 16 January 1917, aged 22 years
Buried: Amara War Cemetery, Iraq


John was the elder of 2 siblings born to Harry and Mary Ann Humby (nee Small), who married in Shirley in 1893.

This is quite a complicated “family”; Mary Ann had already had a son before she married Harry.


The fact that his boy was christened Harry leads one to assume that perhaps Harry Snr. was the father.

At the 1891 Census, Mary Ann is to be found in the West End Workhouse…neither Harry is there with her.


Mary Ann was born in Staines in 1866 and she passed away in Southampton in 1921.

Harry was born in Shirley in 1867 and he died in the city in 1929.



Harry   b. 1890 Southampton   d. ??

John William

Elizabeth   b. 1896 Shirley   d. ??



John originally attested into a Hampshire regiment (#20647)… is not known when he transferred.


The 5th Wiltshire’s were amalgamated into the 13th (Western) Division in early 1915.

The Division embarked at Avonmouth on 1st July 1915, destined for Gallipoli.


On 4th August, they disembarked at ANZAC Cove and were propelled directly into various actions against the Turkish Army.


In January 1916, the Wiltshires (amongst others) were evacuated to Egypt. This was simply because of the number of casualties suffered, through combat, disease or the harsh weather.


After a month in Egypt, the Division was deployed to Mesopotamia (Iraq) where further actions against the Turks were ongoing.


Almost immediately, the Battle of Kut Al Amara commenced. On 29th April 1916, one of the British army’s worst humiliations took place…..11800 British and Indian troops were forced to surrender to the Turks at Kut.

Changes in leadership ensued, and the area was recaptured in February 1917.


Having survived either being killed or taken prisoner at Kut, John moved on northwards with his battalion toward Baghdad.


On 16 January 1917, the battalion were in trenches near Amara with the enemy nearby.


Whilst carrying out trench improvements, John was shot by a sniper.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 3rd October 2016


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