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William Mounsey and Alice Ann Blackburn married at St. Luke’s Church, Preston in 1883.  Their son John was born in Preston in 1889.

At the time of the 1911 Census John was living at 34 Smith Street, Preston with his parents and five other siblings, Margaret b.1886, James b.1892, William b.1894, Robert b.1901 and Richard b.1905. John was working as grocery assistant with the Co-op.

John enlisted in the 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 11th November 1915 and was given the service number 4525, then later the number 201762. His medical report states that he was 5`3” tall with a 35 inch chest and of good physical development. At the time of his enlistment John`s occupation was still a grocery assistant with the Co-op and he was living at 7 East Street, Preston, his father William Mounsey was listed as his next of kin.

His papers show that he was “home from 11/11/15 – 10/4/16” and then left for France on 11th April 1916, joining ‘D’ Company of  1/4th Battalion in the field on 4th May 1916.

Private John Mounsey was reported “missing in action” on 8th August 1916. A further entry in his service file is then made by the Foreign Office on 28th October 1916 confirming that John Mounsey was a prisoner of war.

The following article appeared in the local paper



Extract from 1/4th Battalion War Diary for 8th August, 1916

After a night in bivouacs, preparations were made to go over the ground prior to an attack on GUILLEMONT on the 8th. The Battalion returned to the line that night and assembled in trenches east and west of the road which ran south from the east corner of TRONES WOOD, C Company being detailed to consolidate the right of the enemy line and D Company the left on the west side of GUILLEMONT. A and B Companies acted in conjunction with the 1/4th Royal Lancasters and the 1 8th Liverpool Regiments respectively. The attack was not a success. The right was held up from the start by the switch line which had been reported by our patrol on the 6th, such report having been either overlooked or ignored, and the men had to fall back to the original line, though the 1 8th Liverpools went through the village on the left, and D Company of our Battalion commenced to consolidate, but were driven off by the enemy coming behind them and cutting them off from the Liverpools.

Considerable confusion was caused owing to the mist and the employment by the enemy of smoke bombs, the four platoons in reserve not being called upon for this reason, though all their officers were killed and they suffered many other casualties. The operation was a costly one. Nine Other ranks were killed, 97 wounded and 107 reported missing : whilst of the Officers, Captain E.M. Rennard and Captain H. Lindsay were killed, Second Lieutenants O.H. Ducksbury and J. H. Holden missing (afterwards found to be prisoners of war), and Lieutenants De Blaby and A.T.D. Evans and Second Lieutenants E.L. Fairclough and T.A. Bigger wounded. Lieutenant De Blaby died the following day.

On the 9th August the remnant of the Battalion was relieved by one Company of the 1/5th South Lancashires and marched to bivouacs, where Lieutenant-Colonel Hindle again took over.

Private John Mounsey died a Prisoner of War on 28th August, 1918 and the following moving account of his funeral service appeared in the Preston Guardian on 16th November, 1918.



John`s service papers confirm that after he died he was buried at Schneidemuhl POW Cemetery, Poland.

Additional note:

Information courtesy of the excellent Commonwealth War Graves website explains that in 1922/23 a decision was made that the graves of Commonwealth Servicemen from POW Cemeteries should be brought together into four permanent cemeteries. One of the cemeteries involved was Schneidemuhl POW Cemetery and so Private John Mounsey now lies in Berlin South Western Cemetery.

Rank: Private
Service No: 201762
Date of Death: 28/08/1918
Age: 28
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, “D” Coy. 1st/4th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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