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John Thomas Eccles was born in 1894 in Chipping near Longridge, Lancashire and was the son and eldest child of James and Ann Eccles (nee Mercer).

James Eccles and Ann Mercer were married in St. Bartholomew`s Church, Chipping in 1892. James and Ann had another 5 children, Mary Ann (b.1895 d.1900)), Grace Mercer (b1898), Adamson James (b.1900 d.1900), Annie (b.1901 d.1903) and Martha Jane (b.1903).

At the time of the 1911 Census John Thomas Eccles was at 72 Sharoe Green Lane, Fulwood, Preston.  He was living in the household of Alexander William Chrystall, his wife Isabella and their two children. John Thomas`s relationship to Alexander and Isabella is described as a nephew and his occupation was an Agricultural Student.

John Thomas`s parents James and Ann were living in Hesketh Lane, Chipping in 1911 together with their other 2 surviving children, Grace Mercer and Martha Jane. James Mercer records his occupation as a `foreman on estate`.

On the 5th December 1915 John Thomas Eccles enlisted at Preston recruiting office. His medical inspection report describes him as being 5`4” tall, weighing 126 lbs and having a 35 inch chest. His declared age was 21 years and 9 months. He also confirmed his occupation at this time was an Estate Bailiffs Assistant.

John Thomas was given the service number 4845 which would later be changed to 202025.

On 5th February 1916 he was posted to the 2/4th Battalion LNL.

On the morning of 7th February 1917 the 2/4th Battalion marched from Blackdown to Frimley railway station and there entrained for Southampton. The Battalion sailed to France later that day.

On the 31March, 1917 John Thomas was admitted to a Field Ambulance suffering from an abscess on his right wrist.

One week later he was admitted to a Field Ambulance again this time suffering from a Duodenal Ulcer. He re-joined his Battalion 7 days later on 14April, 1917.

Private John Thomas Eccles was killed in action on 20 April, 1917.

Extract from the Regimental History 19-20th April, 1917

“Early in April 2/Lt N.H. Fisher was killed in the trenches, but on the night of the 19-20th the Battalion made an effort to get some of its own back. A small patrol, officered by Lt. Fairclough and Lt. Jump, went out from the trenches as a special reconnoitring party, but was unfortunately overtaken by daylight before it had proceeded far, and experienced great difficulty in regaining the lines. The enemy brought a very heavy fire to bear upon the patrol and two men fell. Believing that they were only wounded, a rescue party, composed of Lt. Kay and three men, was at once organised and went out to bring the men in, but one of his party was at once killed by the enemy fire, and Lt. Kay and one of those with him managed to reach the two men only to find that they were dead.”

The following article and photograph was printed in the local paper a short while after John Thomas Eccles was killed.


The few service papers that have survived do not reveal whether any personal effects were returned to his family in Chipping.

Private John Thomas Eccles was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and is buried with honour in the Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, France.

Rank: Private
Service No: 202025
Date of Death: 20/04/1917
Age: 23
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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3 Responses to 202025 PTE. J. T. ECCLES. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Sandra says:

    John was a distant cousin of mine. It was great to read about him.

  2. Derrick Waring says:

    I believe I am related to one member of that patrol that fell that day.
    My grandfathers brother Pte.David Waring 31896 2/4th Batt.LNLR, he was killed the same day and was buried in the same cemetary as Pte. Eccles.
    If anyone could confirm this was indeed how Pte Waring died I would be grateful.

  3. Stewart Whitehead says:

    Going off CWGC for that particular date, there were 2 people killed on the ill fated patrol, John Thomas Eccles and David Waring, both 2/4th Loyals. Subsequently my grandfather L/Cpl William H, Burrell 200733 was the man killed on the rescue mission, & L/Cpl Joe Atherton 200880 won the MM in getting Lt. Kay back to the allied lines.




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