John Mitchell Adams

Regimental number: 
Unit at enlistment: 
Canadian Army Service Corps, Training Depot
Volunteered or conscripted: 
Survived the war: 
Date of death: 
September 2nd, 1918
Dury Mill British Cemetery - Pas de Calais, France - I.C.20.
Commemorated at: 
Zion Presbyterian Church, B.C.I. High School Memorial Plaque
Birth country: 
Birth county: 
Birth city: 
Brantford, Ontario
Address at enlistment: 
162 Chatham Street, Brantford, Ontario
Next of kin address: 
162 Chatham Street, Brantford, Ontario
Trade or calling: 
Religious denominations: 
Marital status: 
Age at enlistment: 

Letters and documents

Circumstances of Casualty: During the advance in the Drocourt-Queant Line, this soldier was instantly killed by enemy shrapnel. His body was found between Moulin Damiene and Sand Pit.
Location of Unit at Time of Casualty: Villers-Les-Cagnicourt.

BX September 19, 1918

Private John Mitchell Adams Killed in Action

Mr. and Mrs. James Adams, 162 Chatham Street, have received the official word that their son Jack was killed in action September 2. Jack enlisted with the C.A.S.C. and was later transferred in England to the 125th Battalion, from which he was transferred later to France. He was a bright lovable young chap, greatly liked in this city and in Paris, and many friends will be sorry to learn of his death.

BX September 28, 1918

Jack Adams Died with His Finger on the Gun – Gallant Brantford Youth Fighting Valiantly when He Met His Fate – Popular Young Man

In a letter to his mother, Mrs. Knowles, 188 Chatham Street, Sergeant George Knowles tells of the death in action of Machine Gunner John Mitchell Adams of this city, who died with his finger on the trigger of his gun. Jack Adams was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Adams of the Adams Wagon Works, Limited. He was one of the best liked young men who ever attended the Collegiate, and who was captain of the cadet corps, and also prominent in the rugby team. He and George Knowles, who had always been pals at home met up with the 125th at Witley and later went over to France together. Adams had originally enlisted in the Army Medical Corps and Knowles with the 215th.
Sergeant Knowles letter reads:

Dear Mother,

Another big push is over, but I cannot write as cheerfully as when we came out of the other show. Long before this you will have learned about Jack, so I will not say much about it just now. Last Monday, Sept. 2, we were in one of the greatest pushes yet recorded in this war. The Canadians broke through the Hindenburg line and I might say we were the foremost troops going over on our front. Needless to say we were up against some strenuous fighting, and as war would have it, some very fine fellows were killed. Our casualties were heavier here than in the advance of August 8, in front of Amiens, but we were up against a harder task. As the papers will show, we did the job laid out for us, and getting it straight from prisoners, they say “Canadians superhuman.”

It is hard to show any mercy to prisoners when they fight until you are on top of them, then see them throw up their hands and say the much rehearsed “Kamerad.”

They are all too willing to come over when you've beaten them at their own game. I will tell you more about taking prisoners later on when I have more time to myself. I try hard not to think about Jack, but I might better tell you about it now and forget it for awhile. We were advancing from dawn. We went steadily on until after 10 a.m., when we met with some strenuous machine gun opposition, just when we were through the Hindenburg line and had practically reached our objective. Jack was No. 2 on the machine gun that is loading ammunition on to the gun while No.1 fired it. No.1 on Jack’s gun was Gordon O’Heron, from the Holmedale. He was firing away when he was hit in the face. He rolled off the gun and Jack rolled onto it. He opened up with it and was hit in the right temple by either a sniper or machine gun. He never knew what hit him, and we found him dead, on his gun, with his finger on the trigger. It is a great thing to know that he died fighting hard.

In the advance of August 8 on one occasion our company was practically surrounded, and Jack was the first gunner to have his gun mounted and opened fire. He was recommended for it when we came out, unknown to himself, and will likely be mentioned in despatches for it. After the last show, I was recommended for a commission, and now my name heads the list for a return to Blighty for a four or five months’ course. I just wrote Milton tonight telling him about it and am in hopes of getting away soon.