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John Smith was born in the parish of Atherton, Lancashire.

On 9th May 1914, John traveled to Preston and enlisted in the Army Special Reserve, signing a term of engagement for six years. He was 19 years old, 5ft 7in tall, weighed 123lbs and had brown eyes and dark brown hair.

John listed his mother, Nancy as his legal next of kin. The address supplied was 125, Smithy Street, Leigh, Lancashire. Prior to enlisting, he had been living with his parents and working as a general labourer.

John was posted between the 3rd and 11th Battalions until being mobilized on 8th August 1914. He joined the 1st Battalion in France on 4th January 1915, but returned home on 14th May 1915 having sustained a gunshot wound to his right hand at Rue du Bois.

John spent two days in Felixstowe military hospital with bronchitis in mid-September 1915, before being sent back out to rejoin B Company, 1st Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in France at the end of the month.

On 10th January 1916, John received his first Regimental entry for being absent from fatigue.

On 13th February 1916, he was deducted 7 days pay for breaking out of No 1 camp at La Havre.

On 4th March 1916, John was punished for being absent from medical treatment at 13:30hrs, then breaking out of camp at 19:00hrs before being found in a cafe at 20:30hrs.

Between 23rd and 26th April 1916, John was again punished for being absent.

Between 25th May and 13 June 1916, John was absent from the trenches. He was tried by Field Court Martial at Les Brebis, and sentenced to suffer death by being shot, for desertion. The punishment being confirmed by General Douglas Haig.

John was executed at 04:45hrs on 2nd July 1916.


John’s Pole at the National Arboretum

Rank: Private
Service No: 2506
Date of Death: 02/07/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Update: 1st October 2016 – I have contacted the National Arboretum about the plaque on John’s pole showing the wrong rank, wrong date of death and the omission of his age.

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 2506 PTE. J. SMITH. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Dave says:

    thanks for the information re 2506 Smith. Just wondering if anyone has any further information, especially as to his court martial and execution.

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