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John Dandy was born in the village of Tarleton between the towns of Preston and Southport in about 1880. His mother was named Jane and his father was William, a plate layer on the railways.

John had married Betsy Smith at Atherton on 23rd March 1901 and at the time of the census that year they were boarding with 65 year old rag and bone dealer Harry Allcock at 32 Sanderson Street, Atherton.

They had a son named William born in Atherton in 1901, a son Thomas born in Bolton on 23rd August 1907 and a third son Robert born in Bolton in 1910. At the time of the 1911 census the family were living at 5 Emblem Street, Bolton.

In  1909 John, Betsy and Thomas were living off the Deane Road, Bolton and John enlisted into the Territorial Force for four years service. He was 29 years 7 months old, was working for the Hulton Colliery Company and joined the town’s 5th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 1042. He had briefly served in the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Manchester Regiment from February – August 1902 with the number 8433 before being discharged at his own request. During his 164 days service in the Manchester Regt he did manage to get across to South Africa and was awarded the Queens South Africa with clasps Transvaal and S.A. 1902.

In 1909 the medical officer described John as standing 5ft 5in tall with a 36in chest and being of good physical development.

John attended the compulsory annual training camps between the following dates;

  • 1909:  01/08/1909 – 15/08/1909
  • 1910: 31/07/1910 – 14/08/1910
  • 1911: 30/07/1911 – 13/08/1911
  • 1912: 04/08/1912 – 18/08/1912

… when his four year term expired in 1913 he was offered a further years service which he accepted, and in April 1914 he re-engaged again. Annual camps;

  • 1913: 03/08/1913 – 17/08/1913
  • 1914: 02/08/1914 – 04/08/1914

You can see here that the 5th Battalion were at their annual training camp when War was declared and about six weeks later, 21st September 1914, John signed the declaration that would enable him, as a Territorial soldier, to serve outside the UK in the event of a national emergency. He sailed to France with the initial deployment of the 1/5th Battalion on 12th February 1915.

On 9th August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, John sustained a gunshot wound to his left finger and was admitted to a casualty clearing station for treatment. Having returned to his Battalion he was then admitted again later that month (31st August 1916) with a gun shot wound to the hand.

On 5th November 1916, he reported sick and whilst in the hospital the doctor noticed he was suffering with a swollen left leg. He was returned to the UK on H.M.H.S. Asturias and spent 45 days in hospital between 15th November until 29th December 1916. When he was discharged from hospital the doctor wrote that there was ‘still some swelling of left leg’ but he was fit for light duties in the Command Depot. He was fortunate in that he wasn’t sent back overseas again.

Whilst he was convalescing in the UK he was transferred to the 4th Bn. East Lancashire Regiment with the number 29662.

In July 1917 he was transferred to the 360th (Res.) Employment Company of the Labour Corps with the number 281270 and in April 1918 was recalled to the Colours and was posted to Prees Heath camp. It appears he managed to side-step this posting and a note made the next day reads ‘returned to employment with Tyldesley Colliery’.

John was discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service on 19th October 1918 on account of his bad leg and bunions which were aggravated by active service. He was given the Silver War Badge number B52652 and his character was assessed as being ‘Very good’. John’s address upon discharge would be 56 Shaw Street, Bolton.

For his war service John was awarded the 1914/15 star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. In February 1920 it was reported in Army Orders that he was to be awarded the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal.

 

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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