BORN HULL 1874. BEFORE THE WAR JOHN HAD SERVED 34 MONTHS IN THE BOER WAR WHERE HE RECEIVED TWO CAMPAIGN MEDALS. HE THEN WORKED AT EARLES SHIP BUILDING YARD. HE MARRIED ON 09/04/1898. LEFT WIDOW, ELIZABETH WRIGHT AND SIX CHILDREN AT 18 SALISBURY TERRACE, NORNABELL STREET, HULL.
HE SERVED WITH THE 1/4TH EAST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT AND WAS KILLED IN ACTION, ON 26/09/1915, AGED 41. HIS DEATH WAS REPORTED IN THE HULL DAILY MAIL WITH HIS PHOTOGRAPH ON 24TH NOVEMBER 1915, AND AGAIN ON THE 20TH JUNE 1916. HE IS COMMEMORATED ON THE LOOS MEMORIAL. RECORDED AS KILLED ON THE NORNABELL STREET SHRINE. Hull Daily Mail 08 November 1916.
Loos 25th -27th September 1915. The 8th EYR moved south to Loos, by a series of night marches beginning on 20/21 September, arriving at Nœux-les-Mines at 23.00 on 24 September, when the men bivouacked in open fields in heavy rain. The British attack was launched at 06.30 the following morning, and at 11.15 62nd Bde was ordered up to a concentration area north of Mazingarbe. Before the men had time to eat, orders arrived for the brigade to go up to support 15th (Scottish) Division, which was believed to have captured Hill 70. The brigadier selected 8th EYR and 10th Green Howards for this task. Without time for reconnaissance all he could do was point out Hill 70 on the map and tell the battalion commanders: ‘We do not know what has happened on Hill 70. You must go and find out: if the Germans hold it, attack them; if our people are there, support them; if no-one is there, dig in’. As the inexperienced battalions set out (still accompanied by their transport) they were instructed by a military policeman that according to trench routine they must open out, with intervals between sections. Spacing out the columns took time, and it was 16.30 before they crossed the old front line and headed for Loos. Shortly afterwards they came in full view of German artillery, which practically destroyed the battalion transport. Instead of going through the village of Loos and north of the Loos Crassier spoil heap, the 8th East Yorkshires, followed by 10th Green Howards, passed on the south side, bumping into 1/20th Londons of 47th (1/2nd London) Division, which was holding part of the German positions. The CO of 1/20th Londons tried to stop the advance, but the two Yorkshire battalions carried on in extended lines towards Chalk Pit Copse, well south of Hill 70. A few minutes later they came under intense machine gun fire from the German-held part of the copse, 8th EYR and the leading companies of 10th Green Howards sustaining heavy casualties. In the confusion and gathering darkness some troops trying to retrace their steps and go through Loos were mistaken for attackers and fired upon by the rear companies of 10th Green Howards. It was 19.30 before Lt-Col Way and the CO of the Green Howards were able to restore order. 8th East Yorkshires, together with the remnants of the 1/19th Londons, dug in, continuing the line of 1/20th Londons over the Crassier into the outskirts of Loos village. Two companies dug communication trenches back towards the old front line, and cleared German stragglers out of Loos.
The attack on Hill 70 was renewed next morning after an hour-long bombardment. The mist suddenly cleared and they were clearly visible to the German outposts on the hill. Although some men reached the enemy trenches the lines ‘withered away’ (in the words of the Official History) and flanking fire forced them to retreat. The Crassier then came under shellfire, and snipers and machine guns caused steady casualties. While A and B Companies maintained their position on the Crassier until relieved the following afternoon, Lt-Col Way (who had been wounded) ordered the remainder back to the cover of the village and the support trenches, where they joined 1/23rd Londons and were shelled all night. At 16.30 on 27 September the 8th EYR went into bivouacs at Sailly-Labourse when a roll-call revealed that the battalion had lost 7 officers killed or missing and 12 wounded, 154 other ranks killed or missing and 133 wounded. Next day the battalion entrained for Liettres where it began refitting.