Private John Plummer (5919)

4th Bn, The Worcestershire Regiment, 88th Brigade, 29th Division, M.E.F.

Malvern Commemoration: St Matthias Malvern Link,

Burial/Commemoration: Helles Memorial Turkey

Nature of Death: Killed in action Gallipoli 6/8/1915

Age: 33

Next of Kin: Son of Mrs Annie Hinton (nee Plummer) of 9 Albion Terrace, Belmont Road, Newtown, Malvern; and the late Walter Clarkson.

Education: Malvern Link C.E. School

Previous Employment: Miner (Army Reservist)

Capbadge of the Worcestershire Regiment

Early Years

John Plummer was born, John Clarkson in Leamington, Warwickshire in 1882, the son of Walter Clarkson, a decorator and his wife Annie.  Annie family, the Hadleys, came from Malvern although she herself was born in Newry, Ireland.  Although married in St Mary Magdalene’s, The Tything in Worcester, Annie and Walter moved to Leamington and later Warwick.

Walter Clarkson died at the family home in Stand Street, Warwick in October 1889.  Annie re-married an older widower, Allan Plummer at St Mary’s Warwick in on 10th October 1892.  At some point after this, the Plummers moved to 9 Albion Terrace, Belmont in Malvern and John and his two younger brothers , Arthur and William, attended Malvern Link C.E. School

Allan Plummer died in March 1911, and it seems that after this, Annie’s children re-assumed their birth surname “Clarkson.”  In late 1913, Annie Plummer married Alfred Hinton and the couple continued to live at 9 Albion Terrace.

Regular Army Service

John joined the Worcestershire Regiment as a regular soldier during the Boer War, around 1900.  He was to be found with the 4th Worcestershire Regiment at Ramillies Barracks, Aldershot in on 31st March 1901, when the 1901 Census was taken.  He served with the army for several years, but by April 1911, he was back in civilian life, working as mining labourer in New Tredegar, Monmouthshire.

First World War

On the outbreak of the First World War he was recalled to the Colours from the Army Reserve and landed in France on 11th September 1914, as a reinforcement to the 2nd Battalion.  He fought with the battalion over the autumn and winter of 1914, including the famous Battle of Gheluvelt near Ypres on 31st October 1914, in which the 2nd Worcestershire Regiment were instrumental in preventing a German breakthrough which could have spelled disaster for the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium. 

John was wounded in January 1915 and evacuated to England, being admitted to the Military Hospital, Bulford Camp, Wiltshire on 28th January 1915.  On recovery he was posted to the 4th Battalion, which had been re-called from Burma to form the last regular Division, the 29th Division, and was being readied for service in the Dardanelles.

Landing at Gallipoli in April 1915, John Plummer took part in fighting against Ottoman forces, taking part in several bloody and unsuccessful attacks on the village of Krithia.

Battle of Krithia Vineyard

The 4th Worcestershire Regiment moved to Gully Beach on 28th July and spent some time in reserve, labouring and bathing in the sea whenever enemy shelling allowed.  News of a new battle filtered down to the Battalion – the 29th Division, with the 4th Worcester’s Brigade (88th) in the lead, attacking the Krithia Nullah and the Gully Ravine.  The enemy defences were know to be formidable, but with additional artillery support, hopes were high.

At 4am on 6th August 1915 the attacking troops left the beach and moved forward to the assembly trenches.  The attack was planned in the cool of the evening.  The British artillery bombardment, beginning at 2.20pm, resulted in heavy counter fire, with shrapnel bursting over the heads of the waiting troops.

At 3.50pm, officers whistles signalled the attack and wave after wave moved forward.  Fifty yards beyond the start line, each of the advancing platoons came under heavy and deadly fire.  Very few made it to the enemy trenches, those that did were met with bitter hand-to-hand fighting.

At one point around 30 men of the 4th Worcestershire forced their way into a trench and found themselves isolated in the midst of the enemy.  They swiftly erected barricades and organised defence.  They held on for three hours, but, with grenades exhausted, and twenty men casualties, Sgt Stevens made the decision to retreat.  Twelve men made it back to British front line.  As the Regimental History recorded:

“Sixteen strong platoons had advanced to the attack; only this little party returned.”

By dawn, around 300 wounded men had been brought back in, and what was left of the battalion was relieved, and returned to Gully Beach.  If was found that the casualties numbered 16 officers (5 killed, 4 wounded, 6 missing) and 752 men (killed, wounded and missing).  

Pte John Plummer was posted missing as part of the destruction of the battalion; his death was not confirmed until the following spring.  His body was never recovered and today he is remembered on the Helles Memorial.

John Plummer is also commemorated at the Church of the Ascension, Newtown.

Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
Medal Index Card
1901 Census
Bromsgrove Messenger 20/2/1915

Submit information

If you know anything more about John Plummer then please fill out the form below and we will update his record accordingly:

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Your Message

    Image attachments:

    (if you would like to send more photos please email us directly at