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John Halshaw was born in 1891 in Bamber Bridge and was the son of Robert and Elizabeth Halshaw (nee Sharples). John`s parents were married in 1888 and they had eleven children altogether including John. The other children were, Ann Jane (1888), Mary (1894), Robert (1896), Ellen (1898), Richard (1901), Theresa (1904), Margaret (1905). Sadly three of the children died namely Ellen (1890-1890), Ellen (1892-1892) and Daniel (1903-1904).

In 1911 John was living at home with his parents and six of his siblings at 74 School Lane, Bamber Bridge. He was working as a weaver in one of the local mills.

On the 18 November, 1911 John married local girl Margaret Ann Clarkson at St. Saviours Church, Bamber Bridge. Prior to their marriage Margaret Ann had been living at 7 East Street, Bamber Bridge with her widowed mother Louisa and a brother Walter. Walter Clarkson was a witness at his sister`s wedding.

After they were married John and Margaret Ann moved in to 7 East Street with Margaret Ann`s mother Louisa. In 1912 they had a baby daughter and named her Lilian.

John went to enlist at Preston on 3 September, 1914. At his medical inspection the Medical Officer recorded that he was 5`5” tall and weighed 135lbs. He had fair hair and grey eyes and it was noted that he had a scar on his left cheek. John confirmed that he was living at 7 East Street, Bamber Bridge at the time of his enlistment.

The Medical Officer found him fit to serve and he was posted to the 8th Battalion and given the service number 13888.

On the 1 January, 1915 John was appointed (paid) Lance Corporal but later in the month he reverted back to being a Private.

The 8th Battalion remained in England training until the 24/25th September, 1915. The transport and machine gun section left Aldershot by train for Southampton on the 24th where they embarked for Le Havre. John left Aldershot with the rest of the battalion on the 25th embarking at Folkestone bound for Boulogne.

John was killed in action on 21 May, 1916 at Broadmarsh Crater (Vimy).

21st May, 1916 – Broadmarsh Crater

German guns were firing heavily, cutting off communication between the 8th Battalion front-line and their Headquarters. At about 19.30 hrs a mine exploded near the crater and with that the enemy attacked in successive waves.

The Battalion held their ground admirably during the heavy attack, and were reduced to fighting with bayonets having completely expended their rifle and bomb supply before beginning to fall back.

Casualties were high, 3 Officers killed, 5 Officers wounded, 27 Other Ranks killed, 107 wounded and 15 missing.

The following article appeared in the Preston Guardian not long after John`s death.

HALSHAW1

(Note: the article states John was killed on 22nd May. The CWGC and his service papers both confirm he died on 21st May, 1916.)

None of John`s personal effects were returned to his wife in Bamber Bridge. John was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals which Margaret Ann received in 1921.

Private John Halshaw`s body was never recovered and so his name was recorded on the Arras Memorial to the Missing.

Rank: Private
Service No: 13888
Date of Death: 21/05/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8th Bn.
Memorial: ARRAS MEMORIAL

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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