Cecil James Drew (1892-1974) was wounded between Ypres and Armentieres whilst serving with the Somerset Light Infantry in the First World War. The following paragraph appeared in the local newspaper whilst he was at home in Peasedown St. John, Somerset, convalescing. It was during this period that he met his future wife.
“Private Cecil Drew of the 3rd Batt. Somerset Light Infantry, who was wounded between Ypres and Armentieres. Drew who had been selected by Sergeant Willcox(among others) to form a special platoon who were told off to account for some snipers who were causing a lot of trouble, but unfortunately for them the artillery got the range and began shelling them. Just before being hit a “Jack Johnson” buried itself in the earth ahead of them, but failed to explode, otherwise all would have been killed. Having recovered from the shock of this they were again breathing freely when a shell burst near, killing the sergeant and others, and wounding Drew. Upon regaining consciousness he began crawling along the trench and out into the firing line to tell his captain about the injured, when a sniper spotted him. Drew saw him taking aim and fell forward but the bullet entered by one shoulder, grazed the back and then passed through the other. He was then rescued by the Red Cross men but before they could remove him far the Germans began shelling them. Two of the bearers were knocked over, and poor Drew rolled on to the ground once more. Two others came up to take the place of the bearers, and eventually he was taken into hospital with a quantity of iron in the back, smaller wounds about the chest, wounded by the bullet in shoulders, had a piece of jaw bone blown through his cheek on the opposite side, but despite all, he is now at his home in Peasedown, enjoying a well-earned rest.”
A ‘Jack Johnson’ was the British nickname used to describe the impact of a heavy, black German 15-cm artillery shell. Jack Johnson (1878-1946) was the name of the popular U.S. (born in Texas) world heavyweight boxing champion who held the title from 1908-15.