John (Jack) Mayall Wade was born in Ashton-under-Lyne on September 28, 1894. He was the only son of Lt. Colonel Doctor Herbert Wade.
In 1911 he was attending Ashton Grammar School living with his mother, father and younger sister on Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne. He entered Manchester University that same year and gained a B.Sc. Engineering in 1914. He was a member of the Manchester University Officer Training Corps from 1911 to August 1914.
He was commissioned into the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment on September 2, 1914 along with several others. He joined the Battalion while they were in camp at Bury and sailed with them to Egypt in September 1914 serving with them there throughout their training and preparation for action. He landed with the 1/9th in Gallipoli on May 9, 1915 as a platoon commander in “C” Company.
“C” Company was 242 strong, including Officers, when the landing took place. Captain HAMER was in command, Captain OKELL second in command, and Lieuts. LILLEY, STRINGER, CONNERY, and WADE were commanders of 9, 10, 11, and 12 Platoons respectively.
After dark on 7th June 100 men of “C” company of the 9th Battalion, along with two Companies of the Chatham Battalion of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Royal Naval Division engaged in a frontal assault of the Turkish front line trenches.
Capt. GEORGE HAROLD OKELL and Lieut. ALBERT EDWARD STRINGER led the charge against one trench, and Capt. FRANK HAMER and 2/Lieut. JOHN (JACK) MAYALL WADE against the other trench. Capt. HAMER fell before reaching the trench. Lieut. STRINGER succeeded in reaching the trench but was subsequently killed by the enfilading fire from a machine gun.
Published in the Ashton Reporter 3rd July 1915.
LIEUT. J.M. WADE Wounded in the Fighting in Dardanelles.
COMMANDING OFFICER’S SON.
Second-Lieutenant J.M. WADE, son of Lieutenant-ColonelD.H.WADE, the commanding officer of the Ashton Territorials now at the Dardanelles, is officially reported to have been wounded in action. Lieutenant WADE displayed great courage in the bayonet charge on the Turkish trenches, which cost Captain HAMER and Lieutenant STRINGER their lives. His wound is not serious. It consists of a bayonet wound in the wrist. The information is conveyed in a cablegram which Mr. John Neal received from Col D.H.WADE on Saturday morning, from Alexandria. Lieut. WADE, who has taken his B.Sc, with honours, was studying for his M.Sc, when the war broke out. He was gazetted to the Ashton Territorials on September 2nd, 1914. He speedily became popular with the men, and his courage on the night of June 7th has earned for him the wholesale respect and admiration of the men. It is a curious trick of fate that both father and son should be put out of action at the same time.
Captain O’Kell assumed command of “C” Company but less than two weeks later he was invalided to hospital suffering from exhaustion and was subsequently repatriated to the UK. 2/Lt. Wade now assumed command of the Company which he was belatedly recognized for in his subsequent promotion to Lieutenant (Gazetted September 11, 1917).
“B” Company made an attempt on the 18th June to clear the Turks out of two small trenches, but they found the Turks in such great numbers that they had to retire, and the Turks charged our trench, which was held by a few of “C” Company and a number of the 10th Manchesters, and gained a footing in part of it. Both Lieut. WADE and Lieut. CONNERY took part in “B” Company’s attack, volunteering for the job, and led portions of the men. Lieutenant JACK WADE, jumped into a Turkish trench with six other men. They were never seen again.
Published in the Ashton Reporter January 17th 1915.
LIEUT. J.M. WADE.Officially Reported Missing.
In the official casualty list published on Thursday, Second Lieutenant J.M. WADE, son of Lieut-Colonel D.H. WADE, the commanding officer of the 1/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, now in the Dardanelles, is reported to be missing. The official notification reads – “Previously reported wounded, now reported missing”.
Lieut. WADE has been missing since June 18th, when he took part with the Ashton Territorials in a night attack on a strong Turkish position. According to letters received, he was seen to spring over the parapet of a Turkish trench, but was not afterwards seen. He was a fine young English gentleman, with a brilliant career before him, combining, as he did, all the fine intellectual qualities that a good education can give. His father is lying in hospital at Alexandria, as the result of wounds received in the operations at the Dardanelles.
The hope is entertained that Lieut. WADE has been taken prisoner by the Turks, and that, cut off as he would be under such circumstances, some time would necessarily elapse before his whereabouts could be communicated. Although wounded twice, the first time accidentally and the second by a Turkish bayonet thrust in the wrist, which latter was still bandaged, he pluckily volunteered to take part in a night attack on a Turkish position. “C” Company, with which he was connected, charged the enemy’s position, and succeeded in reaching the first line of trenches. Lieut. WADE displayed great bravery and personal heroism. He was seen alone on the edge of the trench, which was stated to be packed with Turks. Without a moments hesitation he leaped down amongst them, and, fighting with great courage, he accounted for several of the foe. What happened after that it was difficult to say, as the accounts given are conflicting. A letter, which was received by Mrs. WADE from Major R.B.NOWELL, who is at present in command of the battalion, may be taken as authentic. He writes –
126th Infantry Brigade, 42nd Division, June 24th 1915. “Dear Mrs. Wade, I am extremely sorry to have to tell you that JACK has been missing since the 15th inst. Better news than I can send you may reach you before this does. I sincerely hope it has. JACK was engaged in attack operations on the 18th, and was seen to jump into a Turkish trench. It was subsequently rumoured that he had been hit, and was seen walking down to the hospital. I have made exhaustive enquiries, but have been unable to get any information tending to confirm this. He may have been taken prisoner, and I keep hoping against hope that this was the case. Some facts I know – The trench was literally crammed. I know JACK to be a very gallant boy, one of the coolest and gayest in danger, and I much fear that the idea of putting up his hands would not occur to him until it was too late. I wish that I could put this less bluntly to you, but one’s own mental outlook here is scarcely normal. I trust that you may hear from him, but, in any event, his services as a trained officer and a most valued leader on account of his coolness and personal magnetism are lost to the battalion and country during the war. I can only add the almost unnecessary assurance of the sympathy of all of us in this state of anxiety and doubt for his mother. I have the honour to remain, sincerely yours, R.B. NOWELL, Major“.
Lieutenant John (Jack) Mayall Wade was killed in action on June 19, 1915. He was just 20 years old. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.
Lieutenant John (Jack) Mayall Wade is also commemorated on:
- Ashton-Under-Lyne Civic Memorial.
- University of Manchester War Memorial, Main Quadrangle.
- Manchester University Engineering Department War Memorial, George Begg Building.
- Ashton-Under-Lyne Secondary Day School Roll Of Honour WW1.
- St Michaels Church WW1, Ashton-Under-Lyne.