Malvern College First World War Casualty

Lieutenant Colonel John Puckle DSO

Photo of John Puckle
House and time at Malvern: Sch, 1884 - 1886.

Regiment: Army Service Corps.
Died: 15 April 1917 aged 48 in Greece. Lost at sea on Transport 'Arcadian'.
Cemetery: Mikra Memorial

Son of Colonel H. G. Puckle (Madras Staff Corps) and Cecilia Puckle, Pitlochry. b. 1869.
Upper III—1V. XXII Football; House XI Cricket.
Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1889; R.M.C. Sandhurst; South Wales Borderers 1893; A.S.C. 1894; Major 1906.
Winner Army Rackets and Lawn Tennis Doubles.
South African War, Despatches. Queen’s Medal, D.S.O., 1902.
Husband of Mary Clifton Tabor (formerly Puckle), of 91, Grosvenor House, Park St., London.
Great War, Lieut.-Colonel 1915. Lost at sea on the transport Arcadian April 15, 1917, Despatches.

'Lieutenant-Colonel Puckle was one of the first three British officers to land in France at the outbreak of the present war, being sent out in advance of the Expeditionary Force. He was mentioned in despatches in May 1915, and was one of eighteen officers reported missing, believed drowned on April 15th. He was one of the pair who won, two years in succession, for the A.S.C. the Army Rackets Championship Doubles, and also the Army Lawn Tennis Championship Doubles.' (Malvernian, Jun 1917).

'He was ordered to Palestine in March 1917, and was drowned near Stephanos, Greece, on the 15th April, when he was officer commanding troops (about 1,600) on board H.M. Transport Arcadian. An officer wrote: “I have never experienced greater kindness from any commanding officer; His friendly courtesy, his extreme consideration for others, and his never-failing nobility of mind were conspicuous traits in him, which endeared him to all with whom he had dealings, whether official or social. We all looked up to him as the true Ideal of what an officer and a gentleman should be, and one and all admired and respected him accordingly. Of the many officers under whom I have served I have never known one with such a wonderful sense of duty.
He saved many lives by his organization on the Arcadian, and by his attention to duty and the example he set when the disaster took place.
It was a supreme test of courage and discipline which he bore unflinchingly. We who knew him and had the honour of serving under him —and it was indeed an honour—are not surprised at his self-sacrifice. He never on any occasion spared himself.”' (De Ruvigny).