Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Private John Nix, 14th Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1st Birmingham Pals), was killed in action during the Attacks on High Wood on the Somme.
One of eight children of a labourer, he had been a choir boy in his village church, and was active in scouting and the village institute; after leaving school he worked as a stable boy.
Private Nix joined the 1st Birmingham Pals at the outbreak of the Great War and landed at Boulogne on the 21st of November in 1915. He was one of eleven men from his battalion who died on the same day during the attack on Wood Lane close to High Wood. During the attack, from Guillemont to Pozieres, they were organised to begin a lengthy bombardment of the German lines with concentrated shelling. They were to advance under cover of an artillery barrage towards the German line then wait for the barrage to lift; they were told “Hesitation is fatal…a quick bayonet charge is certain to have the required effect.” However the Germans began what was called “overwhelming machine gun and infantry fire” and the British troops were described as being “cut to bits”. Two companies from another battalion were to support them, but lost their way.
Private Nix has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, and also on a plaque in his local church.
John, from Knowle, Warwickshire, was 19 years old.