PEARSON, JOHN (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 9100
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 120, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British private served with 8th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers in Gallipoli and Egypt, 1915-1916; served with 16th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers on Western Front, 1916-1917; POW in Belgium and Germany, 1917-1918

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Newcastle, 1894-1914: family; work in restaurant and pharmacists. Recruitment to 16th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers, 3/3/1915: impact of Kitchener poster; medical. Period at West and East Boldon camps, 3/1915-8/1915: training; army discipline; bedding; cancellation of posting to Western Front due to knee accident. Voyage with draft to Gallipoli, 8/1915: reactions; conditions; landing at Suvla, 8/1915. Recollections of period with C Coy, 8th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers at Suvla, 8/1915-11/1915: move inland to join unit; lice and flies problem; situation; shrub terrain. REEL 2 Continues: situation; food rations and canteen; water ration as tea; rum ration; climate and effect of blizzard, 11/1915; sentry duty using periscopes; shrapnel shell fire; state of health; latrines; personal appearance; morale; superior Turkish position; absence of letter contact with GB; opinion of Turks; evacuation with septic heels, ca 12/1915; Kitchener inspection, 11/1915; attitude to high command; rest periods nearer beach; mule meat issued following blizzard. Period in All Saints Hospital, Malta, 12/1915: septic heels caused by ill fitting boots; reaction to news of evacuation, 12/1915. REEL 3 Opinion of effect of conditions of service on British morale at Gallipoli, 1915. Recollections of period at Sidi Bishr and Suez Canal, Egypt, 1/1916-6/1916: duties as doctor's orderly; digging trenches at Suez; treatment for scabies attack. Posting to 16th Bn, NF at Bethune, 6/1916. Various aspects of period on Western Front, 6/1916-6/1917: comparison of trenches and conditions of service with Gallipoli; story illustrating conditions in no mans land during attack in Thiepval sector, Somme area, 3/1917; German retreat to St Quentin sector, 3/1917; lice problem; GB leave; story of capture whilst acting as runner during German attack in Nieuport sector, 6/1917. Recollections of initial period as POW in Belgium, 1917: interrogation at Bruges cathedral and disposal of message on capture; inadequate food ration during period at Termonde; volunteering for farm work in Germany. Recollections of period working on farms near Markoberdorf, Bavaria, 1917-1918: potato picking; question of escape. REEL 4 Continues: labouring duties; absence of guards; relationship with German civilians; lack of contact with GB; POW uniform; reactions to POW status; food; news of German offensive, Allied advance and armistice, 1918. Transfer to Letchfeld camp and return to GB, 11/1918: story of getting drunk at Lyons; POW pay; British control of camp and presence of Russian POWs; stealing incident. Demobilisation, 1918. Post war career, 1918-1920: housing problem; loss of pre war job; failure of application for veteran's land grant; effects of war service including after effects on health of being gassed at Nieuport, 1917. Membership of Gallipoli Association, 1985.

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