At 15-years-old, Jack Auguste Pouchot won the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his actions in the trenches of the First World War. He survived the trenches only to be later killed serving with the newly formed Royal Air Force after being shot down near Le Cateau, France.
Jack Auguste Pouchot served in the trenches throughout the harsh winter of 1914-1915. On the morning of 8 January 1915 the River Lys began rising rapidly flooding a section of the trenches. Jack's regiment, The Queen's Westminster Rifles, occupying the section were forced to evacuate.
According to Leslie Walkinton "It was just getting light, and there was rifle shooting and excited shouting to our left. We could see two men lying apparently dead about twenty or twenty-five yards behind the barricade."
One of those casualties was a stretcher bearer, the other a corporal who had been shot by a sniper. Jack crawled out from the relative safety of the trenches to assist the two men, having to retreat when he himself came under effective fire.
Both the men he tried to help were killed but Jack, at 15-years-old, became the regiment's first winner of the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his effort. He remained in the trenches until April 1915 when, just after his sixteenth birthday, he was evacuated from France suffering from exhaustion and illness.
Having recovered, Jack Auguste Pouchot was not satisfied remaining in England and on 12 August 1918 joined 56 Squadron Royal Air Force as a pilot. Now a 20-year-old Lieutenant, he was killed on 5 October 1918 when his plan was shot down near Le Cateau in France. He is buried in Marcowing British Cemetery.
- Boy Soldiers of The Great War, Richard Van Emden.
- LEIGHTON BUZZARD BEAUDESERT SCHOOL, Roll of Honour - http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Bedfordshire/LeightonBuzzardBeaudesertRollofHonour.html
- Ancient Faces - http://www.ancientfaces.com/person/jack-auguste-pouchot/164725763
- Roots Chat - http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=368281.0
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission - http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/586652/POUCHOT,%20JACK%20AUGUSTE
- Westminster City School - http://www.wcsch.com/news/the-old-boys-of-wwi
During Remembrance 2015, The Gravity Youth Project will be publishing a number of stories, biographies and reports that reflect the contribution made by children and young people to our freedom, our communities and society as a whole. In the the spirit of The Poppy Appeal, they remember the service of both the fallen and the living. Check back daily until 11th November for the latest update and please, share your favourites with your friends online.
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