ACLAND, John Henry Dyke

Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps attd. 1st Bn., Somerset Light Infantry.

Born

June 1880 at Nymet St. George, Devon
Son of the late Rev. Henry Dyke Acland and Mrs Adelaide Clementina Hart Acland of Luccombe Rectory, Taunton.

Family

Husband of Elizabeth Margaret Acland of 7, Gloucester Place, Marylebone, London

Education

Blundell's School, “School House”, from the age of 14yrs 7 months in January 1895 – Christmas 1899.
St. Thomas Hospital, London.

Career

Taking his M.R.C.S. and I.R.C.P., London in 1905, he served as house physician at the West London Hospital and house surgeon at the East London Hospital for Children, Shadwell. In 1907 he went to Rhodesia and after holding the position of Railway Medical Officer at Beira, was appointed medical officer to the government Schools, Buluwayo.

Service

He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in the early weeks of the war and was gazetted Captain in October 1915.

Trench Diaries

The 1st Bn. Somerset L.I. were part of 11th Brigade, 4th Division. They left Mailly-Maillet at 10pm. On 30th June marching to assembly positions on the right of Serre Road, Redan Ridge Sector. They attacked on 1st July, the war diary recording that the men advanced in magnificent style – having entered enemy’s front line devastating fire came from the Quadrilateral – desperate fighting with bomb and bayonet followed and losses rose to 464 men. They withdrew to British lines after dark and were ordered back to Mallly-Maillett at 10pm. On 4th July they moved to Bertrancourt where they remained in front line until 10th July before moving to the support line, Ellis Square, View trench where the battalion remained until 15th July 1916.

Death

12th July 1916, aged 36, near Bertrancourt, Somme.

The Commanding Officer of his battalion explained in a letter to his family that “He went out into the front of our line to try and find a wounded man who was reported to be there. By the greatest misfortune, he was hit by a bullet and died almost at once. He is a very great loss to us; besides being a skilful doctor he was a most cheery companion and we all miss him dreadfully, he did most gallant work in the attack on July 1st. I immediately recommended him for the Military Cross and if he had been spared I have not the least doubt that he would have been awarded it. He died while trying to perform an act of mercy.”

Burial/Commemoration

Grave I. H. 16
Sucrerie, Military Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, France.
Colincamps is a village about 16km north of Albert. Sucrerie Military Cemetery is about 3k east of the village and was begun by French troops in 1915 but extended by British units from July that year. At first it was called the 10th Brigade Cemetery and was renamed to reflect the presence nearby of a former sugar beet refinery. In 1916 the cemetery was less than 1.5k from the front line and the tree lined track which still runs alongside it was a route to the front lines along which many of the men who now rest in it, marched up for front line duty.

Memorial

His headstone is at 50°05’44.5”N 002°37’21.4”E
The family chose to have the inscription “Requiescat in Pace.”

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The National Archives, Public Record Office, Kew WO 339/
“Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France” (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 25/468
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No. 4405
“The Somme Battlefields” MIDDLEBROOK, M & M (1991) Penguin
“British Battalions on the Somme” WESTLAKE, R (2004) Pen and Sword
Field visit (JEA & GRY 28/7/2006)

 

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