Born in 1894, John Crawford Cunningham was originally with the Bedford Yeomanry and was commissioned from a Private with the army No. of 905 into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. At the time of Enghien Redoubt stand in March 1918 he was a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2/4th Battalion Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.
Lieutenant J C Cunningham was the last officer in charge of Enghien Redoubt on 21st March 1918.
From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose, M.C. (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)
Early in March some reinforcements from the 6th Oxfords, who had been disbanded, arrived; they numbered two hundred. Among the new officers who joined were Foreshew, Rowbotham, and Cunningham. Foreshew received command of C Company, whose commander Matthews went to England for a six months’rest. To Hobbs also, our worthy quartermaster, it was necessary to bid a reluctant farewell. His successor, Murray, a very able officer from the 4th Gloucesters, arrived in time to check the table of stores before the opening of the great offensive.
At 12 noon, after several patrols had failed to find out whether the enemy had captured Holnon, the Colonel himself went out to see all that was happening. He did not return, and shortly afterwards Headquarters were surrounded by the enemy, who had made ground on either flank. Nevertheless till 4.30 p.m. Cunningham, the officer left in command, held out most manfully.
5th From The Story of the 2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment 1914-1918, A. F. Barnes, M.C.
These redoubts in the forward zone – held by the 5th Gordons, 4th Oxfords and 8th Worcesters fought with splendid gallantry throughout the day and were still holding out at 4.10pm when the buried cable – which had up to this hour remained intact, ceases to operate. The last message received was from Lieut. Cunningham 4th Oxford and Bucks who was then the senior officer commanding in Enghien Redoubt, asking permission for the garrison to try and cut their way out. This permission was granted and also by Corps Instructions to the other redoubts at the same time. Except for a few odd men that came in during the night , none returned from the Battalion fighting in the forward zone.
He became a POW, and is listed on the Holzminden Internee List (Sept 1917 – Dec 1918).
UK, British Officer Prisoners of War, 1914-1918
Name: J C Cunningham
Regiment: 4th Battalion. Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Lig
Date Missing: 21 Mar 1918
Repatriation Date: 14 Dec 1918
Record Number: 2910
Section: Western Theatre of Operations.
He died 27th August 1964.