Rank, service number and regiment
Private 1812 and 240373, 2nd/5th Somerset Light Infantry, attached to 2nd Dorset Regiment.
South Petherton, precise date not yet known.
Owl Street, East Lambrook – cottage now demolished. A bungalow stands on the approximate site of his cottage.
Date of death
29 April 1916
Age of death
Circumstances of death
On 29 April 1916 13,000 allied soldiers surrendered and were taken prisoner after being besieged for 5 months by Turkish and German forces at the town of Kut-al-Amara, on the Tigris River. This is in the Basra province of Iraq. The prisoners were marched to Basra diseased, starving and weak, were beaten en-route and many didn’t survive the march or captivity.
Basra Memorial, Al Basra, Iraq.
Date of birth & full name
Feb 5th 1895. JOHN NORMAN PIPE. Christened in East Lambrook on 22 February 1895.
James Pipe and Ellen Pipe (nee Swain). Married 1894. James was a farm labourer.
Spouse & children
Norman was unmarried.
1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
According to the 1911 census Norman was the eldest of 8 children – see photo below showing part of the census:
Norman, Gladys, Elsie, James, Emily, Fred, Walter & Tilda.
The photo of Norman is from a postcard that he sent home to his mother. The first lines on the back read:
“Just a few words to tell you that I am all right.”
According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Norman’s date of death is 31 December 1916 but this is incorrect. His pension record and medal rolls contradict this, he died 29th April 1916. As his body was not found, and so many died either at the siege of Kut-al-Amara or on the forced march en-route to Basra, there was a lot of confusion about dates of death.
Norman’s name was omitted in error from the War Memorial in St.Martin’s Church, K.E. This may have been due to the confusion of who died and who survived the tragic events at Kut. His name is recorded on the War Memorials in St. James’ Church, East Lambrook and Middle Lambrook Meeting United Reformed Church. His name is also on the Centenary Commemorative Plaques, created in 2018 and displayed in various public-access buildings around the Parish.