Grimshaw – Corporal John Elisha

20 January 1893 – 20 July 1980

John was born in Abram, near Wigan, Lancashire. He worked with his father as a carpenter at Messrs Cross, Tetley and Co. Ltd collieries in the Wigan coalfields before enlisting with the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1912, at the age of 19. He served in India until the outbreak of war.  By the time of the landing at W Beach, Gallipoli, Turkey, he was a lance corporal signaller in C Company, and his role throughout the operation was to maintain contact with neighbouring units, and company headquarters aboard HMS Euryalus.

On the 25th April, 1915, headquarters and three companies of the 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, in effecting a landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula to the West of Cape Helles, were met by very deadly fire from hidden machine guns, which caused a great number of casualties. The survivors, however, rushed up to and cut the wire entanglements, notwithstanding the terrific fire from the enemy, and after overcoming supreme difficulties, the cliffs were gained and the position maintained.  

He was one of 32 survivors from a body of 800 men who had been in the landing on West Beach. He was initially awarded the DCM for his actions on that day but, along with two fellow soldiers, the regiment elected him for a VC a few months later.

Following the war, John remained in the Army, serving in India, Arabia and Ireland. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, subsequently serving as Chief Recruiting officer in Northumberland and later East Anglia before retiring in 1953 after 41 years of service.

He died in Twickenham at the age of 87. His medals are held by the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum London .

Filed under: WW1