John Newcomb Private 40675 - 12th Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment Killed in action on Thursday 3rd May 1917 age 37 No known grave but is remembered on the Arras Memorial, France John Newcomb was born 1880, at Wildboarclough, Macclesfield, Cheshire. His father John, aged 26, was a gamekeeper from Brampton Ash, Northants. His mother Sarah (nee Fletcher) was from Chesterton, Warwicks, and aged 28. In 1881 the family were at Grange Lane, Seighford (there was an older son, George) and in 1891 at Sheriffhales. John’s father continued to work as a gamekeeper. By 1901 John himself was a gamekeeper, living with his mother at Lawn Head, Ellenhall near Ranton Abbey, and in 1905 at Shifnal he married Mary Ellen Millington from Lower Knightley. The couple were living at Ranton in 1911; John was a gamekeeper, and he and Mary Ellen had a 4-year-old son Benjamin George, born at Sheriffhales. John enlisted into the North Staffs Regiment as Pte. 5663 and later transferred into the 12 th  Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, 40675. He was killed in action 3 May 1917 and was awarded the Victory and British medals. His medal card states “presumed dead”. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, France, Plot: Bay 4. His record states: “Son of John and Sarah Newcomb; husband of Mary Ellen Newcomb, of Lower Knightley, Eccleshall, Staffs.”
Arras Memorial Historical Information The French handed over Arras to Commonwealth forces in the spring of 1916 and the system of tunnels upon which the town is built were used and developed in preparation for the major offensive planned for April 1917. The Commonwealth section of the FAUBOURG D'AMIENS CEMETERY was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918. The cemetery was enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields and from two smaller cemeteries in the vicinity. The cemetery contains over 2,650 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 10 of which are unidentified. The graves in the French military cemetery were removed after the war to other burial grounds and the land they had occupied was used for the construction of the Arras Memorial and Arras Flying Services Memorial. The adjacent ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918. Canadian and Australian servicemen killed in these operations are commemorated by memorials at Vimy and Villers- Bretonneux. A separate memorial remembers those killed in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917.