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John Francis English was born in Preston circa 1890. He was the son of Francis and Mary Ann English.

In 1911 the family were living at 53 Swansea Street, Preston. His father was working dismantling ships, but died the following year. John had four sisters, and one brother.

John enlisted in the 4th Territorial Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was given the service number 3969, later 201450. He was sent to France sometime after January 1916 and joined 1/4th Battalion in the field. They were part of 164th Brigade in 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

In late July 1916, the division was detailed to take part in the ongoing battle of the Somme. They took their place in the line on the night of the 30th opposite the village of Guillemont. The plan was to capture the village (which had proved to be a major sticking point thus far), enabling further advance. On the night of 8th August 1916, they assembled in trenches near Trones Wood in preparation for the attack. The attack was largely unsuccessful, the right flank being held up almost from the start. Soon the whole line began to retire. The main failing was attributed to great confusion caused by mist, and enemy smoke bombs.

It was during this attack that Private John Francis English was killed, he was 27 years old.

Johns’ next of kin received the British War Medal and Victory medal in recognition of his service. He is remembered on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Pier and Face 11 A.

Unfortunately no service papers survive.
Rank: Private
Service No: 201450
Date of Death: 08/08/1916
Age: 27
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Pier and Face 11 A.

Paul McCormick
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