Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Bombay, Presidency of Bombay, British Raj

General information

Professional Soldier

Army information

British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Londonderry, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
 —  Royal Irish Rifles, 7/8th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Potsdam, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 138

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

John Monks, an Irishman by birth, was born in 1883 in Bombay, British Raj, where his father served as a professional soldier. He was the fifth child of Francis and Mary Monks. As his father before him, John joined the army. At the outbreak of the war John was back in Ireland, living in Kinnegad, County Westmeath. In October 1914 he married his girlfriend, Annie Hackett. By the summer of 1917 John served as a Serjeant with the 7th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, part of the 48th brigade, of the 16th (Irish) Division.

After having seen action in the Battle of Messines, the 16th (Irish) Division moved to the Ypres area, where it participated in the Battle of Passchendaele. On 16 August 1917 it was to attack German positions to the West of Zonnebeke, with the 48th and 49th Brigades. In anticipation of the attack, Battalions of both Brigades occupied positions on the Frezenberg Ridge. The 7th Royal Irish Rifles were on the right Divisional flank and went over the top at 4.45 a.m. Going towards Potsdam, they came under machine-gun fire from Pillboxes on the Ypres-Roulers Railroad and from Borry Farm and Potsdam. The machine-guns at Potsdam even kept in action while the barrage passed over them. The crossfire immediately caused heavy casualties and all officers were lost before the first objective had been reached. The advance on the right flank went a bit better and several Pillboxes were taken along the Railroad, but the attack soon came to a standstill along the whole line. Reinforcements were to no avail and the 7th Royal Irish Rifles were forced to dig in, in front of Potsdam. During the afternoon the Germans launched a counter-attack and with both flanks in the air the men of the 16th (Irish) Division were forced to withdraw to the Frezenberg.

Serjeant John Monks was killed in action during the attack on Potsdam, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters. John has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Files 1

Sources 6

"Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Uniform, 2018, pg. 52-53.
Sources used
"The Royal Irish Rifles in the great war : the history of the first seven battalions", Falls C., Aldershot, Gale & Polden Ltd, 1925, pg. 108-110.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary Royal Irish Rifles, 7th Bn.
Further reference