King's College London
War Memorials

Stearn, John Holder

Stearn John Holder, D.S.O., Lieut., 14th (Service) Battn. The Durham Light Infantry, son of Harry George Stearn of Buntingford by his wife Elizabeth, dau. of the late Henry Lines of Lidlington, Buntingford, co. Hertford. Born 26 August 1894, educ. Hertford Grammar School and King's College London, where he passed his Inter B.Sc. in 1913: represented his College at Hockey and Tennis, and was a Sergt. In the O.T.C.: on the outbreak of war he volunteered for foreign service, and applied for a commission; was gazetted 2nd Lieut. The Durham Light Infantry 14 Dec. 1914; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 11 Sept. 1915; was wounded at the Battle of Loos 26 Sept. 1915 and at Lens 22 April 1917, and was killed in action near Marcoing 3 Dec. following. Buried where he fell. His Colonel wrote: "He was one of my best officers and I was much attached to him personally ........ He was always so cheerful and was quite a tonic to both officers and men in action, quite without fear, and always ready to take on any job. He was most popular with both officers and men." He was mentioned in Despatches by F. M. Sir Douglas Haig [London Gazette, 21 Dec. 1917], and was awarded the D.S.O. [London Gazette 18 July 1917]. He also received the Croix de Guerre, for putting a machine gun out of action and capturing 15 prisoners at Lens 22 April, 1917. De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour


First name(s)John Holder
Date of birth26 August 1894
Place of birthBuntingford, Herts
Family detailsSon of Harry George (Master Tailor) and Mrs. E. M. Stearn, of Buntingford, Herts.
Previous educationHertford Grammar School
CollegeKing's College London and/or King's College London Hospital
Dept / courseFaculty of Science
QualificationsInter B.Sc. 1913
Military unitDurham Light Infantry 14th Bttn.
Date enlistedOutbreak of war
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
CampaignsLoos: September 1915 (wounded and inval), July 1916 to April 1917(wounded and inval), October - December 1917
Decorations / medalsD S O, Mentioned in Haig's Despatch 7 Nov. 1917, Croix de Guerre avec Palme.
Citation(s)17 July 1917. Temp. Lt. John Holden Stearn Dur.L.I.. D.S.O. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led his men with great skill and determination, personally putting a machine gun out of action. Later he commanded his Company, and although wounded himself, carried on for sixteen hours in an exposed position. London Gazette 14 July 1917
Date of death3 December 1917
Age at death23
Rank at deathLieutenant
Place of deathNear Marcoing in the attack on Cambrai
Cause of deathKilled in action by a shell
Burial placeNo known grave
Commemoration(s)King's College Chapel; Cambrai Memorial, Louverval; Buntingford, Herts War Memorial;
NotesLieut Stearn has also been awarded the Croix de Geurre - heartiest congratulations from all at King's! King's College Review, Dec. 1917
SourcesKing's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves; Soldiers died in the Great War 1914 - 1918; University of London OTC 1914-19; De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour

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Stearn, John Holder
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