My uncle John Edward Marriott was born in 1899 in the Nichol district of East London. He joined the 1st Battalion The Middlesex Regiment during World War 1 and served in Northern France, where on 14 July 1918 the 1st Middlesex and 2nd Durham Light Infantry headed the action to retake the GHQI Line which included the village of ELZENWALLE. The attack was a complete success with 41 German prisoners and four machine guns being taken. John Edward Marriott won his Military Medal in this action.
He died on 23 October 1918 at Le Cateau Nord, France
Two weeks before this, he wrote this letter to his mother:-
BEF. France 2nd July 1918
My Dear Mother, Many thanks for the parcel of good things which I received last night and please thank Carrie and Eliza for what they sent, and please thank the others for their nice cards, which I shall always keep.
I hope you won't be offended but I must say I am sorry you sent the razor, for it cost a tidy bit, and if you remember, I only asked for some razor blades, but never mind, I thank you very much all the same, and please thank Alf for me.
I am sorry that you didn't hear for nearly a fortnight, but still Mother dear, you know I wouldn't keep you waiting longer than could be helped. We had a nice supper of the parcel in our dugout last night, one of the boys in my dugout went suddenly on leave last night, after waiting eighteen months, so I'm sure he deserves it.
I am sorry that you didn't get the souvenirs I sent you, but let me know if you get the green envelope and the rosary that I sent you. I shall always keep that little one you sent me, and I sincerely hope it will bring me home again, for I am looking after myself with all my might, and you must admit, shells want a lot of dodging at times, but I am ever so careful Mother, for I know you want me back, and I want to come back as I came out, I don't want any wounds, for you can get such cruel ones out here at times, and while they can be dodged, then that's me. I've heard of fellows wishing for Blighties and all they've got is a wooden cross, the best plan is to play the game and so trust luck if you come through, but I can't help mentioning that four times in the last fortnight I have dreamed I was home shortly, for this business can't last long now that Austria has crocked up.
I am glad that you sent Dad out some tea and sugar, for with a drop of tea and a pipe of tobacco he is quite content, and we are issued with plenty of tobacco, and the best part is wasted.
Your loving son, Johnny
Dear Mother, The next time you want to send me soap, please make it a wedding present, for as we don't usually get a wash for about ten days when we are in the trenches, and seeing the size of the tablets of soap you sent me, then I am certain I shan't want any more soap for duration. To tell the truth Mother, I haven't even used one of the tablets you sent in the last parcel, so you can guess what a sight we look at times.
Just 3 weeks before the Armistice, Haig decided upon a final push for victory in Northern France, and on the:-
23 October 1918
Heavy enemy shelling at 1.20 a.m. caused casualties in the assembly area. The 98th Brigade led the attack which began at 2.00 a.m. 'A' company on the left, 'C' company on the right with 'B' company mopping up. At 2.45 a.m., Captain Tate of 'B' company reported "on the outskirts of Forest, all going splendidly, very few casualties." At 3.45 a.m., 'A' company reported that they were in FOREST, suffering heavy casualties. By 6 a.m. the village was secure and the 4th Kings and 5th Scottish rifles took over and continued the attack to the next objective.
John Edward Marriott M.M. was killed in this action.