John Cusack Forsyth was one of five brothers and two sisters born to Colonel Frederick Arthur Forsyth and Ellen Sanford Forsyth.
Four of the five boys would be killed in the service of the crown in what has been described as a “real life Private Ryan” story. John’s brother Frederick was a member of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge and Triune Lodge No 2121 (now part of the Grand Lodge of India).
Of the brothers Arthur was in the Royal Norfolks and died of Malaria contracted in Nigeria on active service in 1909. Sam was a Gunner and was killed in action in France in September 1915. The youngest, Cusack, a half Colonel commanding the 6th Yorkshires was Killed in Action in September 1916. Three brothers killed in consecutive Septembers must have been a heavy weight for the family and for the surviving brother.
John Cusack Forsyth went to Wellington in the Michelmas term of 1897, following three of his brothers (the other brother went to Malvern). He was in the Murray from 1897, as were his Wellington brothers.
He went on to Woolwich and the RMA. He was gazetted into the RFA in 1902 and served in England and Ireland.
He was described as having a somewhat reserved nature and undemonstrative, he was particularly zealous and painstaking officer, respected by brother officers and men. At home he was well-known as a fine and courageous horseman and rider to hounds, and he was very popular in social circles.
He was acting as Adjutant to 23rd Brigade when he was killed.
His death was reported as late news in the Coventry Evening Telegraph:
“WARWICKSHIRE LIEUTENANT KILLED IN ACTION. Lieut. J.C. Forsyth, of Leamington, Adjutant of the 23rd Brigade Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action on the 23rd inst. Deceased was well known in sporting circles in this district. He was the brother of Mr. S.S. Forsyth, solicitor, of Coventry, who is now serving in the same brigade.”
The Leamington Spa Courier provided more detail:
“LOCAL CASUALTIES – Killed Lieut J.C. Forsyth. This week, as last, we record with deep regret the death in action of another Leamingtonian, a member of a well-known family. We feel sure the very deepest sympathy will be felt for Mrs. Forsyth, widow of Lieutenant Colonel Forsyth, in the death of her second son, Lieutenant John Cusack Forsyth, who was killed in action in the batttle of the Aisne on September 23rd. The news was received in London by Mrs. Forsyth last Sunday in a telegram from her son Mr. S.S. Forsyth, who is serving in the 23rd Brigade Royal Field Artillery, of which Lieutenant J.C. Forsyth was Adjutant.”