King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Wilson, John Soulsby

Acting Adjutant ▪ 11th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment

John Soulsby Wilson, born on 16th August 1895, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1908 as a Foundation Scholar. The youngest of four children, he lived with his father, John, a technical chemist, his mother, Mary, and his three siblings at 381, Hagley Road, Birmingham. His brother, George, also an Old Edwardian, served as Acting Captain in the 3/8th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and although he was wounded in the war, he survived.

John was in the Modern First Class, the most prestigious class in the Modern School, where he studied a primarily scientific, rather than classical, curriculum. He was extremely talented, coming second overall in his class and winning proxime (second prize) for laboratory work, and he was a student in the School’s top mathematics set. Thomas played for the 1st XI cricket team, “mainly for his bowling – a poor bat but a good field”. His kicking skills placed him second in the Drop Kick Competition of June 1914.

John was a member of the Cambridge Officer Training Corps, earning his commission in March 1915 as a Second Lieutenant with the 11th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. He left for France in July 1916 with the 8th Battalion of the same Regiment, seeing action at the Somme and Aisne. He was wounded on 8th February 1917, and was mentioned in despatches by Sir Douglas Haig for action at Beaumont Hamel in April 1917. In May 1917, John became a Lieutenant (Intelligence Officer), then an Acting Adjutant just 2 weeks before his last engagement. He was wounded and missing, presumed killed, at Ypres on 12th October 1917, aged twenty-two. His body was never recovered but he is commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial. John left his estate of £472 to his father.