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John Elliott McFetridge was born in Preston and was baptised on 10th November 1898 at St. Mark`s Church, Preston. He was the son of John and Betsy McFetridge (nee Hodgkinson).

John Elliott`s father John McFetridge came from Ballymena, County Antrim and was a tailor by trade. He married Betsy Hodgkinson at St. Mark`s Church, Preston on 20th March 1897. John and Betsy had two other children, William Hodgkinson born in 1897 but who sadly died in 1900 and James in 1905.

In the 1911 Census John Elliott is a schoolboy living with his parents and younger brother James in a three roomed house at 58 Whittingham Street, Preston.

On the 24th October 1914 John Elliott went into the recruiting office in Preston and enlisted. He was placed in the 4th Battalion and given the service number 3012 which would later become 200855.

On his medical inspection report the Medical Officer recorded his `apparent age` as 19 years. However, official birth records confirm he was born in the December quarter of 1898 and the newspaper article below confirms he was just 16 when he enlisted.

John Elliott is described as 5`4” tall, with a 34 inch chest, having good vision and physical development. He confirms his address at the time was 12 Hesketh Street and his occupation was a weaver.

There were a couple of misdemeanours in 1915:

  • 14th July – not complying with an order
  • 30th October – absent from 7am parade until 7.30.

On the 14th March 1916 John Elliott was appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid) and then on 24th May 1916 to Lance Corporal (paid).

By 7th February 1917 he had been promoted to Corporal and on that date he sailed to France with ‘D’ Company of the 2/4th Battalion.

Only a short while later on the 10th March 1917 John was admitted to a field ambulance. He was then transferred to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station where he died from bomb wounds to his back and lower right ribs.

The following report and photograph appeared in the local paper a short while afterwards.

mcfetridgesmall

The following personal possessions were returned to his family in Preston.

  • 1 Identity disc
  • Letters/photos
  • Pen/Fountain pen
  • Keys
  • 1 Cash wallet

Private John Elliott McFetridge was awarded the British War and Victory Medals which his mother Betsy signed for on 7th July 1921.

John Elliott is buried with honour in Estaires Communal Cemetery and Extension, Nord, France.

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 200855
Date of Death: 10/03/1917
Age: 18
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.
Cemetery: ESTAIRES COMMUNAL CEMETERY AND EXTENSION

Additional information:  John Elliott`s father John McFetridge enlisted on 30/11/14 joining the 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancs. He spent a brief period with them and then joined the 8th Irish Battalion (King`s Liverpool Regiment). He then transferred from them to the 424th Agricultural Company. When he was finally discharged on 2/3/19 at the age of 43 years he was with the Labour Company. All of his service was spent in the UK.

Research conducted by Janet Davis

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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2 Responses to 200855 CPL. J. E. MCFETRIDGE. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Andrew Hodgkinson says:

    Very interesting. I am interested in the Hodgkinson connection. John is remembered in Preston New Hall Lane Cemetery on his grandparents headstone; it says he was a Corporal.

    • Patsy Larson nee McFetridge says:

      Hello Andrew
      My Grandmother was Betsy Hodgkinson, John Elliot and my father James McFetridge’s mother. Betsy came from a large family of 12 children so you may be descended from one of them,(I have all their names and some other info. on their families. Their parents were John Hodgkinson and Elizabeth (nee) Kemp. I have done research further back regarding their families if you are interested. Please contact me by email
      southernwoods@hotmail.com
      Regards
      Patsy

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