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John West was born in Manchester circa 1893 and at some point after the 1911 Census he arrived in Preston and went into lodgings at the house of Mr. John McGreal, 71 Pleasant Street in the Avenham District of Preston. He went to work as a labourer in the spinning room for Messrs. Horrocks Crewdson and Co. in their mill in Stanley Street, the company being one of the largest cotton mill companies in the North West.

In the Avenham District and adjacent to John`s lodgings was Russell Street and Elizabeth Ellen Warwick lived at number 59, the couple met and then later married at St. James` Church on the 20th November 1915. WW1 was in its second year when John enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment under Lord Derby`s Group Scheme on the 10th December 1915. He was issued with the service number 5028 which would later become 202155 when the Territorial Force was renumbered in January 1917. He was immediately placed on the Army reserve but a couple of months later on the 11th February 1916 he was mobilised and then posted to the 3/4th (Reserve) Battalion LNL.

By July 1916 John had completed his training with the Reserve and he sailed from Folkestone to France with a number of reinforcements on the 16th July 1916, arriving at the 25th Infantry Base Depot in Etaples the following day. After several days at the Base Depot John was temporarily attached to the 8th (Service) Battalion LNL joining them at Englebelmer on the 26th July 1916. The 8th Battalion spent until the end of the month carrying out training before returning to the trenches at the beginning of August 1916.

On the 24th August 1916 the Battalion moved into the Leipzig Salient in support of the 1st Wiltshire Regiment. “C” Company of the Battalion was attached to the 3rd Worcester Regiment and they had been tasked with assaulting the Hindenburg Trench which they successfully achieved. On the 26th August the Battalion moved up the Salient to capture another part of the trench system but came upon heavy resistance from the enemy and as a result casualties were high. John was one of 181 men injured in the action having sustained shrapnel wounds to his left hand. He was taken to a casualty clearing station and then on to 26 General Hospital in Etaples. He spent several weeks recovering from his injuries and when he was finally declared fit he was posted back to his own Battalion which was the 1/4th LNL, joining them on the 6th November 1916. John would also receive the news that his wife had given birth to their only child, a son and he was named Albert, his birth registered in the December quarter of 1916.

John remained with the 1/4th Battalion in and around the Ypres Salient for the next few months where they had all the usual mixed fortunes of front line trench warfare, occasionally coming out of the line for rest and training.

On the 9th July 1917 the Battalion left their billets in Vlamertinghe and went into the front line trenches to the North East of Ypres relieving the 1/4th Royal Lancaster Regiment in the right sub-sector of the Brigade front. The line extending from just South of Warwick Farm to New John Street with the 2/5th Lancs. Fusiliers on the left and the 13th Royal Scots on the right. Over the next few days they were subjected to heavy shelling, both gas and high explosive.

Sadly, John was killed on the 15th July 1917 when one portion of the trench he was manning was badly damaged;

Extract from the Battalion War Diary

15th July 1917 – After action of the night bombardment, the day was quiet. Our front line – left Company, got badly knocked in in one place, the parapet being breached for 20 yards, otherwise there was little or no activity.

1 Other Rank killed, 5 Other Ranks wounded (3 gassed), 1 to field ambulance sick.

Elizabeth West was notified of the death of her husband and she had the following notice published in the Preston Guardian;

Elizabeth was awarded a pension of 18s/9d per week for herself and their son Albert with effect from 4th February 1918 and then the following month, on the 15th March 1918, she acknowledged receipt of a number of her late husband`s personal effects, these included;

  • 1 ID Disc
  • 1 Purse
  • 2 Cap Badges
  • 1 Pocket knife
  • 2 Cigarette Cases
  • 1 Shaving brush
  • 3 Sets of Rosary Beads (2 broken)
  • 1 Religious Medallions
  • Letters, Photographs and Cards

John West was buried in Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery near Ypres. His wife also made sure his name was commemorated on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston by completing one of the Submission Forms.

Harris Museum RoH submission form

Roll of Honour – Harris Museum and Library in Preston

Rank: Private
Service No: 202155
Date of Death: 15/07/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Cemetery: VLAMERTINGHE NEW MILITARY CEMETERY

Ron Crowe

Ron Crowe

Ron has had an interest in WW1 for most of his adult life, reading many books and accounts of the war. He has visited most of the western front on several occasions and visited the various museums, including the Verdun battlefield. He volunteered for the St Marys project at MoL, and having enjoyed the experience felt he would like to do more. These lost stories of old soldiers needs to be brought back to life both for relatives to see what their great grandfathers did, and the modern young generation to see the sacrifices made by them for them
Ron Crowe

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One Response to 202155 PTE. J. WEST. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Lindsey says:

    Thank you so much for this article. This is my great great grandad, his son Albert was my mums dad. Information on here that we never knew about.

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