Private John Edgar Avery

  • Private John Avery with his vehicle in Egypt and a postcard he sent home (courtesy Dorothy Avery)

M2/268782 Private John Edgar Avery, RASC, died on 16 December 1918 in Palestine. He was buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery (ref. Q.97). His Corps, the ASC, had recently been granted the prefix ‘Royal' to mark the role of vehicles, draft horses and labour battalions in supplying the soldiers and ‘feeding the guns'. Within the Corps he was with 980th Mechanical Transport Regiment - tracked and wheeled vehicles, and in the Middle East with a considerable number of water tankers. A year previously, Jerusalem had fallen in the offensive by Britain, France and Arab insurgents against the heart of the Ottoman Empire in Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia (Iraq). It was the first Allied conquest of the War. Fighting for the city continued from 17 November and beyond the surrender on 9 December until 30 December 1917. It was the final objective of the Southern Palestine Offensive, the first stage in removing the Turkish army from the Middle East completely. Allied forces had advanced from Suez across Sinai, fought the battles for Gaza and laid siege to the area round the Palestine capital. John died a year after Jerusalem was liberated and six weeks after Turkey had agreed to the terms of an Armistice in the Middle East. It is possible he died in a base hospital.

John was born in Hughenden, Buckinghamshire in 1892, the sixth of the eight children born to William Avery, timber merchant and saw mill proprietor, (b. in 1849, Bledlow Ridge, Buckinghamshire), and his second wife, Emma Ruffell, b. in 1859 in Swallowfield, Berkshire. Henry ‘Harry' Avery, his oldest brother, b. 1871, Special Constable as of September 1914, later took over the family timber yard by Wheatley Station. His younger brothers, James and Leonard Avery, both served in the war, and returned. In 1891 and right through until 1935, the family were living on High Street, Wheatley, at no. 94, Roberts House. On his death John left his estate to his father.

He had been living at 94 High Street.

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