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John Bottomley was born in Blackburn, and was the son of Ben and Mary Bottomley (who later moved to Marsden, Yorkshire). John lived with  his wife Rosella at  27 Audley lane, Blackburn. They had married at St Thomas Church, Audley on 18th July 1914 and were soon to have one child, a daughter named Margaret who would be born on 21st January 1915.

At the time of his enlistment at Blackburn on 4th September 1914, John was 23 years old and worked as a fire beater . He had never been in the military. He was described by the medical officer as being 5ft 8.5in tall, weighing 123lbs. He had gray eyes, dark brown hair and was of fresh complexion.

John was posted into the newly raised 10th (Service) Battalion and given the number 14017.

Whilst training in the UK, John was reprimanded three times for misdemeanors; firstly at Felixstowe in March 1915 for disobeying an order from a senior officer; secondly, again at Felixstowe on 7th June for being absent off pass for 13 hours until being apprehended by the civilian police in Blackburn; and finally ten days later now at Andover, for being AWOL again, this time for 33.75 hours.

He sailed to France with the 10th Battalion on 31st July 1915.

He was wounded by ‘rifle bullets’ to his left upper arm and chest on 11th October 1915. The 10th Battalion War Diary for this date shows that he had probably been hit by a sniper.

11th October 1915 – Hannescamps

Enemy sniper activity was again observed, especially along the sector assigned to C Company where Private Alfred Wiseman was killed, and two other men wounded at short intervals.

John was sent back to the UK and was transferred to the Suffolks on Home Service duties. In January 1917, having recovered, he was transferred back to the Loyal North Lancs, rejoining the 10th Bn in France that March.

The 10th Bn was disbanded in February 1918, the men being drafted into the 15th Entrenching Battalion. The 10th Bn was disbanded in February 1918, the men being drafted into the 15th Entrenching Battalion.

On the first day of the German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael (21st March 1918) the 15th Entrenching Battalion were involved in the defense of the TERGNIER to QUESSY line. During this action John again sustained gun shot wounds to his left arm, quite possibly during the same event that saw him awarded the Military Medal (L.G. 16/07/18). John was admitted to the field ambulance, and onto the hospital in Boulogne.

On 4th April 1918 his arm was amputated. John died two days later. He was buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery 5km north of Boulogne.

Photo taken April 2018

His MM card shows ’10th Bn N.Lan.R attd. 15th Entrench Bn’ His MM card shows ’10th Bn N.Lan.R attd. 15th Entrench Bn’

His widow received the following personal effects on 2nd July 1918; on the bottom of this list is written ‘the above mentioned man is still serving with 10th Bn, B.E.F France‘. Clearly this was wrong, John had died three months earlier, and the 10th Bn had been disbanded. This mis-information must have been very confusing and upsetting for his wife.

  • Letters
  • Photos
  • 2 x coins
  • Memorial Ribbon


On the 22nd July 1918 this mistake was rectified, and the following effects added to the list;


Rank: Private
Service No: 14017
Date of Death: 06/04/1918
Age: 27
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.
Awards: M M


Paul McCormick
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