|PRIVATE JOHN GRIFFIN
John was the son of Rueben, a labourer, and Sarah. He volunteered in September 1914, and after training at Ampthill Camp, as Private 12803, proceeded to France on 27th October 1915 with 8th Bedfordshire Regiment.
A letter to a Griffin family in Russell Street was reprinted in the “North Bucks Times”, 19th October 1915, although it is not clear which Griffin it is from, which is not helped by the rank mentioned, but it gives a vivid description of the conditions faced:
HARD TIMES IN THE TRENCHES. Sergt. J. Griffin writes:"When I got your letter I was in the trenches only 100 yards from the Germans, and the shot and shell were coming like hailstones. How we live through it I don't know; it is dreadful; it deafens you - you can't hear anything. I have just had a wash, the first for seven days, and I am nearly frozen to death at night. How any of us come out of it I don't know; its murder. I had one of my men killed by the side of me yesterday. I do wish it would finish, but there is no signs of it. It is enough to see others, and to see the way they die without a murmur. Day after day it's the same thing. I do hope our son will never have to come into one of these fights; it will be terrible for him, but I suppose he is in it somewhere by this; I hope he will be spared if he is. Anyone that gets wounded and not too badly, and gets home is very lucky; there are such a lot get killed."
To confuse things further, there were two John Griffens from Woburn Sands listed as being in the army in a listing published by The North Bucks Times on 11th May 1915. One is said to be in he Welsh Fusileers, from Russell Street, and another in Lord Kitcheners Army, from Station Road.
John was wounded on the Somme in September 1916 (probably during the Battle of Morval) and again during the Arras Offensive in April 1917.
Possibly two brothers survived; A. P. and D. Griffin also of Aspley Hill. A .P, a serving soldier in the Ox. and Bucks. Light Infantry at the outbreak, was at the retreat from Mons and wounded at the battle of Marne. After a period at home, he returned to the front and fought at Festubert. He was sent home to hospital in 1915, and invalided out of the army in 1916. The other, D. volunteered to the Bedfordshire Regiment in November 1914 and served in various posts, including a Military Policeman. He was unsuccessful in obtaining a transfer overseas, and was demobbed in March 1919.