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John Raynor was born in Bolton in 1898 the son of Thomas and Mary Ann Raynor (nee Sharples). His father was originally from Battersea in London and his mother was Preston born and bred.

Thomas Raynor was twenty years old and working as a labourer living in Middleforth Green in Penwortham at the time of his marriage to Mary Ann. Mary Ann`s home was in Inkerman Street in Preston and the couple got married just a few minutes` walk away from her home at Emmanuel Church on the 26th May 1890.

Thomas and Mary Ann had at least nine children altogether including John, the others being;

  • Mary Elizabeth (1890) born Preston
  • Thomas (1892) born Preston
  • Henry (1894) born Euxton (near Chorley)
  • Frederick (1900) born Horwich
  • Matilda (1903) born Horwich
  • Millicent (1905) born Horwich
  • William (1909) born Preston
  • Agnes (1912) born Preston

When the 1901 Census was recorded John and his family lived at 14 Little Queen Street in Colne where his father was employed as a railway engine driver, his occupation perhaps explains why the family seem to have moved around Lancashire so much.

By the time John`s youngest brother William was born in 1909 the family had moved back to Preston and in 1911 they were living at 2 Poplar Street. Thomas Raynor had left the railways and was now employed as a skilled labourer in the electric car works on Strand Road (United Electric Car Co.). His mother and sister Mary Elizabeth both worked in one of the local cotton mills and his brother Henry was an iron driller while John and Frederick both attended school.

After leaving school John eventually joined his father and went to work as an iron driller at the electric car works which is where he was working in 1915 when he enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Precise details of his enlistment are unknown because unfortunately his service papers appear to have been destroyed. He was allotted the service number 25254 and sailed for France at some point after January 1916, on arrival he was posted to the 1st Battalion LNL.

Later information also states that John had been wounded while serving overseas (no further details). At some point he was transferred to the 1st Battalion LNL but again no precise information is available.

On the 9th April 1918, the German Army launched the second phase of its spring offensive in what would become known as the Battle of the Lys.

On the 16th of the month the 1st Battalion relieved the 2/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers and went into the front line near La Bassee Canal, they were in position by 3.55pm. The following day was generally quiet.

Extract from the Battalion War Diary – 18th April 1918

“At 4.15am, the enemy commenced to bombard the whole of the Divisional front. The barrage became intense and at 8.10 the enemy attacked from the north, filtering into our trenches under cover of the high ground at Givenchy. He succeeded in reaching and occupying the main line of resistance before counter measures could be taken. Vigorous counter attacks by “C” and “D” Companies eventually succeeded in ejecting the enemy from our main line and by 11am he was only holding a few isolated posts in our outpost line”.

On the following day there was a certain amount of sniping from the Germans who were now holding the shell craters which had formed the outpost line. The 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment later successfully attacked the remaining enemy and the Germans retreated back to their own lines.

A period of quiet then followed with the men concentrating on repairing and improving the defences until finally being relieved from the front line on the 23rd/24th April.

Although the Battalion War Diary does not give a daily account of casualties for this particular period in the front line it does record losses of 46 men killed, 105 wounded and 189 missing.

John Raynor appears to have been one of the 105 men who were wounded at some point during this period of action. Sadly, John succumbed to his wounds at a casualty clearing station on the 28th April 1918.

The Raynor family had the following information printed in the Preston Guardian a short while later;

25254 Private John Raynor C Coy 1st Battalion 2

After his death John was laid to rest in Lapugnoy Military Cemetery. It is not known whether any of his personal effects were ever returned to his family in Preston.

For his war service John was later awarded the British War and Victory Medals and his family would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice for his country.

On the anniversary of his death his parents had the following notice printed in the Lancashire Evening Post;

28th April 1919

In loving memory of Private John Raynor, 25254 1st L.N.L. died of wounds in France April 28th 1918 aged 20 years.

“He lies beside his comrades  

In a hallowed grave unknown  

But his name is written in letters of love

In the hearts of those he left behind”

From his ever loving Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers, Grandmothers and relatives, 100 Wellfield Road, Preston.

Rank: Private
Service No: 25254
Date of Death: 28/04/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Janet Davis
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3 Responses to 25254 PTE. J. RAYNOR. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Audrey Littlewood says:

    Hi Janet, do you have a Henry Raynor in your line born 1886? All I know it that he was born north of Gloucestershire. Henry, kniwn as Harry, enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers 3rd batt in 1908 prior to working for Groves colliery later Ravenhead. Just before the was in 1914 he was medically discharged. There does not appera to be a record in the gro index for his marrozge to Rebecca Starkey b.1891 Yardley. The family lived in Toddington glos. Also, there does not appear to ne a record of their first two children. 3rd one b.1919 in Alderton Glos was Doris Raynor, my mum. In the 1939 register Harry has his date of birth as 26.07.1886. He was 67 when he dies on 1953, not 76 as his death cert says. Needless to say I spent several years looking for the wrong man!
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Regards Audrey Littlewood
    New Zealand.

  2. Janet Davis says:

    Hello Audrey, I`m sorry but I don`t have any personal connection to the Raynor family. I just help out with researching the men who served with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

    Good luck with your research, I hope you manage to track down Henry!.

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